The very words ‘tax audit’ strike fear into many people. But audits aren’t always a bad thing. In fact, sometimes they can work in your favour. To illustrate this, here’s some real life success stories:
- A client was audited for GST. After some back and forth with the tax office, it turned out they had overpaid their GST. The audit resulted in the client getting a GST refund.
- A client in NSW owed a lot of payroll tax. When doing their taxes, they had mixed themselves up with the ‘contractor vs employees’ distinction. Payroll tax applies to employees but not to contractors. However, some contractors are actually employees for payroll tax purposes. You can see how the client got confused! As result of this mistake, they were potentially exposed to a severe underpayment of their taxes – by $500,000! During their audit, we provided the information requested and went through the process. The Office of State Revenue (OSR) reviewed the case and after some time reflecting on the facts, decided our client did not owe them any money.
- Another client based in Queensland owed a substantial portion of payroll tax. The Queensland OSR then came to the conclusion that the client was owed a refund but a little further down the track, changed their minds! However, by this time, it was too late so the Queensland OSR wrote off the debt.
- A client was subjected to an income tax audit for a research and development claim. The client had taken a very aggressive approach to some of their income tax positions. Through lengthy discussions with the Australian Tax Office, they paid the client a large refund.
- A client came to us after being told by the Tax Office that their company now owed $450,000. The Tax Office hid from them that they also planned to make them pay another $100,000 personally a couple of months later. So a total of $550,000. We got this reduced to $150,000.
These are just some of many examples where an audit can actually result in you receiving a refund or being ahead on your taxes. This is all the more reason not to fear them as they can often work in your favour – as long as you follow the process correctly. For some tips on how to do this, head over to our article ‘Help I’m being audited!’ The steps to take if the ATO audits you’.
We hope you found the information in this article valuable but keep in mind it is no substitute for legal advice. If you are having issues with the ATO and need further legal assistance, please contact us at KnowTheLaw. We have a good network of reliable lawyers who can assist you. Adam Ahmed is an Australian international tax lawyer. Adam has over a decade of experience working at 3 of the big 4 accounting firms and one of the top tax law firms in Australia. He is currently the managing director of Adam Ahmed & Co. This article is reproduced from Adam Ahmed & Co.