The Australian Taxation Office has warned taxpayers receiving unusual income this year due to the coronavirus downturn to be careful when submitting their tax returns.
The loss of jobs or working hours mean many Australians have had to draw on government assistance like JobKeeper and JobSeeker, or withdraw some of their superannuation early.
The expected high rate of "unusual" income this tax season has led to the ATO to put out an early caution about how these should be treated.
Here's the advice from the tax office:
JobSeeker: how to treat in tax return
The first thing to have in mind is that JobSeeker payments are taxed.
The ATO will automatically load this information into the 'government payments and allowances' section in your tax return, but it won't necessarily be there from July 1 on the dot.
This means if the information is missing when you do your tax return, you'll have to populate it yourself or revisit later after the data flows through.
"Leaving out income can slow your return down or result in a bill later so it’s definitely best avoided," stated the ATO.
JobKeeper: how to treat in tax return
JobKeeper payments are taxed as regular income.
Australians that have received JobKeeper payments from their employer don't need to do anything different to other "normal" years.
"The payments will be included as salary and wages and/or allowances, in their regular income statement, which their employer provides directly to the ATO," stated the tax office.
The income statement sent to the ATO can be viewed in MyGov, or a tax agent acting on your behalf can also access it.
Sole traders that have received the payments need to include them as income for the business.
Stand down payments: how to treat in tax return
Some Australians in the past three months have received a one-off or multiple payments from their employer for being temporarily stood down from work.
"These payments are also taxable and appear in their income statement and in their return," the ATO stated.
"If people aren't sure whether these amounts have been included in their income statement, they should check with their employer."
Early superannuation withdrawal: how to treat in tax return
ATO assistant commissioner Karen Foat has good news for those who took advantage of the relaxed rules around emergency withdrawal of superannuation funds.
"If you received early access to your super this year under the special arrangements due to Covid-19, any amounts you’ve withdrawn from super under this program are tax-free and you do not need to declare them in your tax return,” she said.
Other unusual income: how to treat in tax return
During the coronavirus crisis, some Australians may have received out-of-the-ordinary income such as a redundancy payout, income protection insurance payout, sickness or accident insurance claims, and accrued leave payouts.
The treatment of these vary, so the tax office advised following the instructions on the individual line items in the tax return.
Then there are all those work-from-home expenses for many Australians this year. Here's what costs you can claim and how.