Key Audit Hot Spots for 2024: What the ATO is Watching Closely

As tax season approaches, it’s essential for businesses and individuals to be aware of the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) key focus areas. Understanding these hot spots can help you stay compliant and avoid potential audits. This comprehensive guide will provide you with detailed insights into the ATO’s primary areas of scrutiny for 2024 and how you can prepare to stay on the right side of the law.

1. Work-Related Expenses

Overview The ATO continues to focus on work-related expenses, which is one of the most commonly overclaimed areas on tax returns. Typical errors include claiming deductions for expenses that were not incurred, not keeping receipts or other proof, and claiming personal expenses as work-related.

Common Issues

  • Home Office Expenses: With more people working from home, the ATO is examiningclaims related to home office expenses. It’s essential to keep detailed records of the time spent working from home and the expenses incurred.
  • Vehicle and Travel Expenses: Incorrect claims for travel expenses, including car expenses for travel between home and work, which are generally not deductible.
  • Clothing and Laundry Expenses: Only specific types of clothing (such as uniforms or protective clothing) are deductible, and claims for everyday clothing are not allowed.

How to Prepare

  • Keep accurate and detailed records of all work-related expenses.
  • Use the ATO’s myDeductions tool in the ATO app to capture receipts and records throughout the year.
  • Ensure that all claims are directly related to earning your income.

2. Rental Property Deductions

Overview Rental properties remain a significant focus for the ATO. Common errors include incorrect apportionment of expenses, overclaiming deductions, and failing to declare all rental income.

Common Issues

  • Incorrect Apportionment: Allocating all expenses to the rental property when it is only rented out part of the year.
  • Overclaiming Deductions: Claiming deductions for repairs and maintenance that are capital improvements or initial repairs.
  • Rental Income: Not declaring all rental income, including from short-term rental platforms.

How to Prepare

  • Keep detailed records of all income received from rental properties, including short-term rentals.
  • Accurately apportion expenses to periods when the property is rented out or genuinely available for rent.
  • Understand the difference between repairs and maintenance (deductible) and capital improvements (not immediately deductible).

3. Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Overview Capital Gains Tax reporting, especially regarding cryptocurrency transactions and property sales, is under close scrutiny. The ATO is particularly focused on ensuring that all capital gains and losses are accurately reported.

Common Issues

  • Cryptocurrency Transactions: Failing to declare gains from the sale of cryptocurrencies or incorrectly calculating the cost base.
  • Property Sales: Not reporting the sale of investment properties or misunderstanding the main residence exemption.
  • Shares and Investments: Misreporting the sale of shares and other investments.

How to Prepare

  • Keep comprehensive records of all cryptocurrency transactions, including the purchase price, date of transaction, and sale price.
  • Ensure all property sales are reported, and understand the CGT implications of these sales.
  • Maintain detailed records of share transactions, including purchase and sale dates and prices.

4. Small Business Reporting

Overview Small businesses are a primary focus for the ATO, particularly those operating in the cash and digital economy. Accurate reporting of income and expenses is crucial to avoid audits.

Common Issues

  • Cash Transactions: Not declaring all cash income, which remains a significant issue.
  • Digital Sales: Failing to report income from digital platforms and online sales.
  • Employee Superannuation: Not meeting superannuation obligations accurately and on time.

How to Prepare

  • Ensure all income, including cash and digital sales, is accurately reported.
  • Use digital record-keeping systems to track all sales and expenses.
  • Stay on top of superannuation obligations and make timely payments.

5. Superannuation Contributions

Overview Employers must meet their superannuation obligations accurately and on time. The ATO is focusing on ensuring that all superannuation payments are made correctly and that employers are complying with the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) requirements.

Common Issues

  • Late Payments: Superannuation payments that are not made by the due dates.
  • Incorrect Calculations: Miscalculating the amount of superannuation owed to employees.
  • Non-Compliance with SG Requirements: Failing to meet the minimum superannuation contributions required by law.

How to Prepare

  • Ensure all superannuation contributions are made by the due dates.
  • Use payroll software that automatically calculates superannuation contributions to avoid errors.
  • Regularly review superannuation obligations to ensure compliance with SG requirements.


Staying compliant with the ATO’s regulations is crucial to avoid audits and potential penalties. By understanding the key audit hot spots for 2024 and preparing accordingly, you can ensure that your tax affairs are in order. Keep accurate records, understand the rules, and seek professional advice if you are unsure about any aspect of your tax obligations.

For more detailed guidance and support, consider subscribing to AuditCover tax audit insurance. This insurance provides protection for you and related entities within your group by covering the professional fees associated with an audit, ensuring peace of mind and financial security.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please feel free to contact our office or AuditCover on 1300 895 797.