Australian Influencers and Social Media Stars Are Urged to Declare Any Income From Luxury Gifts and Sponsored Content

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The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has warned influencers and social media stars that they must start declaring any gifts or payments they receive from brands.

The crackdown comes after growing concern that some influencers fail to declare luxury items received in exchange for promoting products on their platforms. 

The ATO announced that it would screen out influencers neglecting to record sponsorships as part of their earnings, which can include gifts and vacations, using a sophisticated set of “data matching” technology.

A representative also warned that the technology would be employed to check whether famous Instagram personalities were living 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 said in an interview.

Under Australian law, influencers must report all revenue they make, even if they only utilize their platform for personal enjoyment.

While flashy events and expensive presents are sometimes placed in a “grey area,” Australian law compels social media influencers to disclose sponsorships when a post is made.

“The upcoming ‘game-changing’ policies will have many influencers rethinking whether ‘gifts’ are worth the extra tax,” a well-known accounting professional said.

Australian Influencers, including well-known personalities like Jade Tuncdoruk, Olivia Molly Rogers, Bec Judd, Jono Castano, Rozalia Russian, Chantelle Stanton, Lisa Danielle Smith, and Lucas White Smith, publicize sponsored posts with “gifted” hashtags.

The ATO’s crackdown on undeclared luxury items is a sign that they are taking the issue of tax compliance among influencers seriously. Influencers should understand their obligations and declare any gifts or payments received from brands to avoid hefty fines and potential criminal charges.

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