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Sharing economy reporting regime for platform operators

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Individuals participating in the sharing economy should be aware that transactions for supplying taxi travel/ride sourcing and short-term accommodation are now required to be reported under the sharing economy reporting regime (SERR). Generally, all operators of electronic distribution platforms (EDPs) must report transactions made through their platform. While the reporting requirements ostensibly apply to the platforms, the regime is expected to heavily affect individual taxpayers who work in the sharing economy, with the information obtained through the program to be used in ATO data matching and compliance projects.

The SERR has now commenced for the 2023–2024 income year. Only transactions for supplying taxi travel/ride sourcing and short-term accommodation need to be reported under the regime. However, from 1 July 2024, the SERR will apply to all other reportable transactions of EDP operators, including hiring of assets (consisting of hire of personal assets, storage or business space), food delivery and professional performing tasks and activities will need to be reported. 

Generally, all operators of EDPs must report transactions made through their platform. An EDP is defined as any service that allows sellers to make supplies available to buyers and is delivered via electronic communication (eg website, internet portal, gateway, application, online store, marketplace). It should be noted that platforms that solely provide carriage services that transmit electronic communications, access to payment systems or payment processing services, or advertising that makes customers aware of products and links to them to a merchant’s website, are not considered to be EDPs. 

For example, consider a platform that merely provides a connection between a seller and an end-user, say for services, but transactions are not accepted through the website, and the entity is required to contact the end-user themselves (eg platforms where individuals requiring trades can input the details of work they’re looking to have done and tradespeople can bid for a jobs by directly contacting end-users with offers). These platforms are not considered to be EDPs, and no data will be required to be reported under the SERR. 

However, if a platform provides a connection between a seller – whether it be individual or a business – and an end-user and the transactions between the two are processed through the platform, then these transactions are captured under the SERR and the operators will need to report: 

  • all transactions when an entity uses the EDP platform to make a supply that relates to Australia (including its external territories); and
  • all transactions that are available to end-users and receive payment or other consideration for the supply.

It should be noted that EDP operators are not required to report transactions which relate to the sale of goods or real property (ie where ownership changes), for financial supplies, where the EDP and the seller are members of the same income tax consolidated group or multiple entry consolidated (MEC) group, or transactions where tax is required to be withheld from payment under the PAYG withholding regime. 

Information that will be reported by the EDP platforms on the seller include names, dates of birth, ABNs, registered business names, trading names, tax identification numbers, addresses, contact numbers, email addresses, bank account names, BSBs, bank account numbers (or international equivalents), total amounts of payments to the seller for the reporting period including GST, fees and commissions, and total GST payable on all sales. In addition, sellers of short-term accommodation will have the property address of the short-term accommodation and number of nights booked included in reports to the ATO. 

According to the ATO, compliance profiles of individuals participating in the sharing economy will be created using the SERR data to generally improve ATO intelligence. In addition, the data will be used to improve tax compliance, both voluntarily through education programs and/or through enforcement measures.