Irish Property? Live in Australia? TAX MTYHS

Myth #2 – The Tax man will never find out!

Unfortunately, this is not the case and every year I get several phone calls from people living in Australia where the ATO has discovered they own or have owned a property in Ireland.

Typically, this occurs due to data matching, each year every financial institution in Australia shares your bank account details with the ATO, should this not match the information in your tax returns the ATO start to investigate further.

The worst thing about the ATO finding out is that should this occur you cannot then go back and try to claim deductions for depreciation or other expenses. The Commissioner of taxation will base his ruling on your tax affairs based on the information/documentation he has been provided with at the time you get caught, so if no depreciation report is in place at that time none will be accepted subsequently. Ironically this may mean in some cases that people that are actually due a refund end up paying tax and penalties on their overseas property.

This has been the subject of a recent court case in New South Wales where the tax payer tried to get a Quantity Surveyors report after he got caught not declaring rental income. The court rejected the Depreciation Report prepared by the Quantity Surveyor , FCT V Rigoli [2013]

Some people also think that if you are paying tax on the income in Ireland then you do not need to report it in Australia, this is certainly not the case. All worldwide income needs to be included in your Australian Tax Return. On the bright side if you have been paying tax in Ireland you are probably due a refund under the Australian System as it is far more generous to the property investor.

All of this can be avoided of course by getting your affairs in order, the very least you can do is find out where you stand so that you can make an informed decision. In this respect it is important to remember that all information that you provide to a registered Tax Agent is confidential , they are not the ATOs policemen and should you wish not to proceed that is entirely your own business.

We provide free no obligation estimates of the deductions available for Irish properties on our website, just fill in the online enquiry form here and we will get back to you.

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