The ATO has announced it will be turning its attention to anyone earning income through car sharing platforms. The growing popularity of third-party services such as Car Next Door, Carhood and DriveMyCar Rentals has prompted the ATO's interest, said ATO Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson. She said there is evidence that some taxpayers who are undertaking sharing activities might not understand the taxation implications. Ms Anderson said people involved in car sharing "must declare the income and you cannot avoid tax by calling it a hobby".
While expenses claimed for car sharing must relate directly to the renting, hiring or sharing of the car, deductions can legitimately be claimed for expenses like platform membership fees, availability fees, cleaning fees and car running expenses, the Assistant Commissioner said. However, she warned that a deduction can only be claimed for cleaning and running expenses if the car owner is responsible for them under their car sharing agreement. For example, different agreements require either the car borrower or the car owner to bear the costs of refuelling the car. In addition, for cars owned jointly, income will need to be declared and expenses claimed in proportion to the share of ownership. If someone is registered for GST, or required to be registered for GST, and has an enterprise of renting or hiring their car, they will be liable to pay GST on payments they receive.