This is to alert SEA members and subscribers about new laws affecting you if you earn income through ‘gig’ platforms. As of 1 July 2023, the platforms will be required to report your income to the Australian Taxation Office. The move is directed to identifying undeclared income and will eventually apply to GST compliance.
Legislation for the Sharing Economy Reporting Regime passed Parliament in December 2022. The ATO is having to design the implementation of the new laws quite quickly. The ATO is seeking to implement this properly and is conducting industry and ‘stakeholder’ consultations on this. We’re involved in these consultations and have raised a number of issues.
To give you some context, the new reporting rules are targeting the (approximately) 970,000 people, or 7 per cent of the workforce of 13.9 million, who earn income using gig platforms. Only 0.19 per cent of the workforce, however, report earning all their income from gig. That’s according to the comprehensive inquiry into gig work done by the Victorian government.
Consequently, the ATO’s gig income reporting regime is overwhelmingly going to affect people who use gig as top-up income. If you’re using gig for income, you’ll need to ensure that you’re reporting that income correctly.
The issues we’ve raised in the consultation so far include the following:
Data collection: The gig platforms will be required to report data other than simply financial—mainly, we’re told, for identification purposes. We asked if the type of data required could be clarified.
GST: How will GST reporting operate? Will gig platforms be required to understand gig workers’ GST threshold limits?
Gross or net income: We assume that reporting will require net income declarations. That is, income after platforms take out all platform and related expenses.
Dispute management: This is our top query.
What if a platform incorrectly reports income or reports income that does not match the ATO’s prescriptions?
Our concerns here are strongly linked to the abuse of social welfare recipients in the Robo Debt scandal. In that case the ATO provided income data to Centrelink which then used that data to allege incomes that were false. The government’s dispute-resolution process was essentially non-existent, resulting in huge abuse of welfare recipients. The same potential exists with this new reporting system—namely, if there are reporting errors, then the gig worker is hopelessly disadvantaged in having them investigated and fixed.
We have to say that the ATO was/is very receptive to our concerns and queries.
If you earn income through gig, we’re keen to hear from you if you have concerns or can identify issues. Drop a line to me (Ken Phillips – ke*******************@gm***.com)