Record keeping is always key to taking on the ATO
In a recent case before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), amended assessments issued to a taxpayer by the ATO, which were based on the amounts of unexplained deposits to the taxpayer’s bank accounts (in some years, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, in others, millions), have been largely upheld.
The total further tax claimed by the ATO was almost $4 million, and, on top of that, they imposed an administrative penalty of almost $2 million (imposed at the rate of 50% for recklessness).
The taxpayer was partially successful in proving that some of the amounts deposited into bank accounts held in his name were not assessable income.
In particular, the taxpayer was able to demonstrate that some of the deposits were reimbursements of amounts he paid in relation to a group of companies of which he was an investor, and some were transfers from one of his bank accounts to another.
However, in relation to many of the deposits to his bank accounts, he had no corroborative evidence as to what they represented.
Therefore, he failed to discharge his onus to prove the amounts should not have been included in his assessable income.
Yet again the AAT has provided taxpayers with another reminder as to the importance of documentation and good record-keeping.