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Trading on eBay: The Tax Office Really is Watching You

Trading on eBay: The Tax Office Really is Watching You

The Tax Office has been saying for some time that it is closely scrutinising eBay transactions with a view to identifying those Australians who are running an undeclared business through the popular auction site.

In the case of Cronan and Commissioner of Taxation, the Commissioner successfully argued before the AAT (Administrative Appeals Tribunal) that a taxpayer has indeed been running a business through eBay and issued a default assessment to the taxpayer, who kept virtually no records of their extensive transactions other than a few eBay feedback forms.

First of all this case highlights the extent to which the Tax Office is focussing on eBay as part of its fight against undeclared income but also the case highlights the basic requirement that taxpayers must keep records to validate their activities.

In this case, the taxpayer had no grounds to legitimately challenge the Commissioner’s assessment because his purchases and sales – many of them financed by the proceeds of gambling – were entirely unsubstantiated.

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