The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is warning taxpayers against making unsubstantiated deductions, as millions of Australians prepare to lodge this year’s tax return.

This year the tax agency will have its eye on a number of key things such as; work-from-home expenses and rental property claims. The ATO will also be chasing any hidden income earned by gig economy workers and Australians who trade cryptocurrency.

For the majority of last year the ATO was forced to shift its focus towards delivering covid-19 stimulus benefits such as JobKeeper, super early withdrawal and business cashflow boost.

Although the ATO will continue to support taxpayers through the pandemic, the agency will also ramp up its work to address key risks to the tax and super system.

Here are some of the key areas the ATO will be keeping a close watch over during tax time.

Work from home and work-related expense claims

Work-related expenses slightly dropped during covid-19, but work from home expenses went up.

In 2019-20, about 8.5 million Australians claimed close to $19.4 billion in work-related expenses.

This is a decrease from $20.7 billion claimed by 8.9 million Australians over the duration of the 2018-19 financial year.

Work from home expenses leaped by about 40 percent during covid-19 enforced lockdowns.

More than 4.4 million individuals claimed a working from home expense in their 2019-20 return; compared to about 3.16 million in 2018-19.

One million Australians used the 80 cents per hour tax shortcut in 2020

As a result of the expectation that work from home claims would rise due to the covid-19 enforced lockdowns, the ATO introduced the 80 cents per hour tax shortcut method.

Illegitimate claims on rental properties under fire

ATO taxation statistics illustrate that fewer landlords have been making losses on renting out their properties, largely because of lower interest rates.

Gig economy workers urged to report income for odd jobs

The ATO requests data from digital platforms such as Uber, Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Airbnb and Airtasker as a way to identify people who earn income through the gig economy.

Cryptocurrency traders urged to report capital gains

The ATO has revealed that over 600,000 taxpayers are now trading crypto assets such as Bitcoin.