Making Money Through Shared Accommodation? The ATO is Cracking Down

Making Money Through Shared Accommodation? The ATO is Cracking Down

Have you taken advantage of the surge in shared accommodation properties in Australia, renting a room or an entire house for a boost in your income? If you thought you could get away without declaring said income, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise.

The ATO has recently announced a new data-matching program which will change the way your shared accommodation offering is tracked online. This program will potentially tap into accommodation platforms such as Airbnb or Stayz, and identify the taxpayer, rental address and the majority of the data linked to the account. People who have thought that these platforms would fly under the radar of the Australia Tax Office are in for a potentially large bill due to undeclared income from their shared accommodation earnings.

According to the ATO, the data-matching program is estimated to match with 190,000 individuals and gather information including:

  • Listing owner’s name and contact details
  • Bank account, payee name, BSB and account number
  • Payment dates and amounts
  • The rental property address
  • Gross rental income fees and commissions charged
  • Listing dates
  • Nights booked
  • Price per night


The amount of information collected will allow the ATO to identify any non-disclosed income and ensure compliance from those affected. According to information provided by the Tax Office, leniency in the form of reduced fines is on offer to those who lodge a voluntary disclosure on their non-disclosed income.

The good news is that  if you have declared your rental income in your income tax return then you can claim deductions for any associated expenses, such:

  • Internet and phone costs
  • Water, power and council rates
  • Upkeep and repairs
  • Depreciation on the cost of furnishings and equipment
  • Interest on your mortgage


Secondary to the penalties of non-disclosed income, people also need to consider the implications of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) upon the sale of their property. The income you make from Airbnb will usually outweigh the later effect of CGT, but not always. It’s something you need to consider carefully.

This means you may not be entitled to the full main residence exemption from capital gains tax (CGT), which means you’ll have to pay CGT on part of any capital gain made when you sell your home. In order to calculate the capital gain that is not exempt on your property, a number of factors will need to be taken into account, such as:

  • The proportion of the floor area that is used to produce income
  • The period of time that it is used for this purpose
  • Whether you’re eligible for the ‘absence’ rule (For more information on this please refer to ATO website)
  • Whether it was first used to produce income after 20 August 1996.


Having all the information is vital, that’s why the team at Conrad Carlile are here to help. When considering renting some or all of your property through a share accommodation platform, seek advice to work out the effect it will have on your taxable income and the impact it will have on your situation. Call our team on 07 3871 1522 or send us an online enquiry through our website.


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