How To: Ace The Share Economy

By Rachel Lay
15th Jun 2016

We’re a nifty little generation, aren’t we? Our goals (and shopping wish lists) require more than just a 9-5 to fund us; we’re all about that extra cash and being resourceful. That’s why we are all about the share economy. Why just struggle with a car loan when you can use said to car to earn bulk cash to pay off your car – it’s simple logic, you guys.

But the share economy is new terrain, and it can be uber confronting to try and navigate as a newbie. Thankfully, we’ve asked our Anonymous Accountant for their tips on how slay the share economy game.

If you’re looking to get behind the wheel of an Uber or rent out your room on Airbnb, read this first!

#1 Uber Driving

Uber is the most familiar taste of the share economy for most; it’s fast replacing taxis and is making a seamless transition into our lives. Our Anonymous Accountant’s number one tip is to invest in a log book.

 “I can’t believe how many Uber drivers I meet who don’t use a log book!” he said. “If you drive a lot you need to keep track of your kilometres and petrol because you may be able to claim it on your tax return.” Your log book needs to be valid which means you continuously note every trip, even non-Uber related ones, for around twelve weeks. Having a log book means you’ll be able to claim the Uber driving percentage of all expenses for your car come tax return time, and that can add up to a lot.

Things like the decline in the value of your car, your insurance, your fuel, your rego, repairs and even washing can be claimed: as long you keep track of them! Create a spreadsheet and document all your expenses in here so it’s easier to keep track at the end of the year or quarter.

#2 Airbnb

Ah, Airbnb the answer to all our holiday prayers. Airbnb has changed the holiday game in a big way. Now, staying in a mansion with epic ocean views is totally doable, and your gross spare bedroom is also a totally sound business venture. As much as we all love making bank of things we don’t even use, there’s a few tricky rules and things to know when it comes to Airbnb. Thankfully, our #AnonymousAccountant is here with the answers.

Here’s his top FYI: if you’re renting out a single room you can claim a percentage of the expenses that relate to renting the room. (There’s a calculation of the total floor space and the common areas they’re allowed to access versus the total floor space of the house, but let’s leave that equation to the pros, shall we?) 

Next up, if your Airbnb is a holiday home that you frequent, you guessed it, you need to keep a log book. Jot down the time you spend there versus the time the property was available to ‘rent.’ Why? Because you can claim the percentage of expenses from when it was available to Airbnb users. Make sure you check the ATO website to stay up to date with all the important info, too.

#3 All The Rest…

There’s really no limit to what you can do to make money these days. However, in the name of keeping things legit, we thought we better share some tips on all the other stuff you can do to make money.

Sites such as AirTasker mean you can register your skill (dog walking and queuing at launches are counted as skills, FYI) and get paid for doing it. Various Insta and FB pages also allow you to post your item of clothing and rent it out for a fee, which is awesome. But, the ATO actually considers each of these as businesses. Why? The ATO’s definition of a business is when you have a view to profit, which is what we’re doing in these situations. So, our #AnonymousAccountant says to make sure you have an ABN, get your spreadsheet on, and track those expenses people! 

So in a nutshell, if you are going to be making bank on the share economy it pays to be organised. Log books sound like the key, amiright? Put up with the pain of keeping one to track your expenses now and get all the gain come tax time when you get to claim it all back. 

*Disclaimer: This article is not a substitute for detailed tax advice. We’re not tax experts, and this article was written with the help of an accountant. Seek a registered tax agent’s advice for your own personal situation. 

Image credit: Sensibletransport

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