Australian influencers have been put on notice by the Australian Taxation Office as a crackdown on undeclared luxury gifts gets under way.
The ATO said it will use a sophisticated set of ‘data matching’ technologies to weed-out influencers who are failing to report sponsorships as part of their income which can include handouts and holidays.
A spokesman warned the technology will be used to see if Insta-famous celebrities are owning up to their ‘millionaire’ lifestyles.
‘If you are paid in-kind, such as with goods or other benefits – for example, being able to keep an item or outfit used in a post or being gifted something – you are subject to the same income tax and GST treatment as normal cash or credit payments,’ the ATO told the .
The Australian Taxation Office announced a new crackdown on luxury lifestyle influencer (pictured, Sydney-based influencer and jewellery designer Emma Pillemer)
Hundreds of Australia-based influencers share content with ‘gifted’ hashtags for posts they are paid for through gifted goods (pictured, left Jono Castano, nA right Chantelle Stanton)
All income generated by influencers – even those who use their platform as a hobby, not a business – is subject to tax under Australian law.
‘Gifts’ given by companies instead of cash in exchange for advertisements are also considered income.
However, aK gifts given by companies without the expectation of services – for example, PR packages – aren’t considered income.
Australian law requires creators on social media to claim when a post is sponsored, but glitzy events and luxurious gifts are often put in a ‘grey area’.
Hundreds of influencers around Australia – including big names Jade Tuncdoruk, Olivia Molly Rogers, Bec Judd, Jono Castano, Rozalia Russian, Chantelle Stanton, Lisa Danielle Smith and Lucas White Smith – share sponsored posts with ‘gifted’ hashtags.
Daily Mail Australia does not suggest any of the influencers named or pictured are not declaring gifts to the ATO or are otherwise evading tax.
Sydney-based actor and influencer Suzan Mutesi (above) said it will be difficult for influencers to gauge the value of gifts they receive from companies
The Australia Taxation Office said it will be cracking down on influencers who don’t claim non-cash payments as income after sharing posts with the hashtag ‘gifted’
A high-profile accounting executive said the upcoming ‘game-changing’ policies will have many influencers rethinking whether ‘gifts’ are worth the extra tax.
‘It is well and good to walk around with a $5,000 handbag but if you can’t afford the tax, what is the point? It is a game-changer that will have influencers rethinking the situation,’ they said.
A celebrity agent agreed, adding ‘the gravy train is over for influencers’ who can’t afford to pay cash for expensive presents.
‘A crackdown will take a much-needed weed whacker to the infestations of wannabe Kardashians of late,’ the agent said.
However, Sydney-based actor and influencer Suzan Mutesi said it could be difficult for some influencers to determine the value of their gifts.
She said many non-cash payments given to influencers can be sample designs that were never intended to be sold, goods made specifically for them or invitations to exclusive holidays and events.