The ato says its coming after uber drivers who evade the gst

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IT HAS won fans and created enemies across Australia, and now Uber has landed firmly in the sights of the Australian Taxation Office — again.

The ATO has announced it was chasing after Uber drivers who didnt pay income tax and the GST by using a new data-matching program to identify culprits.

Under the compliance crackdown, banks and other financial institutions will this month hand over to the ATO detailed payment information regarding up to 15,000 drivers who provided rides through the controversial ride-sharing service.

The ATO will then identify any Uber drivers who have ignored orders to pay the taxes.

We want to make sure everyone knows what needs to be done and only after that if people are still resisting doing what needs to be done, out of fairness well take corrective action, Assistant Commissioner Michael Hardy said.

The compliance crackdown comes follows an August 1 deadline for all Uber drivers to pay the GST. The ATO said people who used their cars to provide rides should pay the tax for every dollar they earned, just like normal taxi drivers.

In August Uber hiked its fares by 10 per cent to cover the tax.

But it disagrees that drivers for its low-cost Uber X service should be forced to pay the GST, because they were not taxi drivers as they were not licensed to drive cabs under state and territory laws.

The company said the ruling was unfair compared to similar services such as bike couriers, truck drivers and Airbnb hosts who didnt have to pay GST until they reached a yearly turnover of $75,000.

Uber Australia boss David Rohrsheim also said the ATOs ruling created unnecessary red tape that included setting up an Australian Business Number and filing quarterly business activity statements with the ATO.

We feel that the position taken by the ATO jeopardises this flexible income, harms job creation, and is guidance that should not have been issued while a comprehensive federal government tax review is under way, he said.

Uber has challenged the ATOs decision in the federal court.

Mr Hardy declined to comment on the lawsuit but said state or territory laws covering ride-sharing, including the announcement by the ACT last week that it would legalise Uber X, werent relevant to the ATOs view.

Under Ubers ride-sharing system, passengers hail cars using the companys smartphone app and pay their fare to the company, which passes the money onto local drivers after taking a 20 per cent cut.

In its announcement this morning, the ATO said it was seeking to obtain bank account information, including account numbers and details of payment dates and amounts from Uber, that covered 2014, 2015 and 2016.

It also announced a similar crackdown on taxpayers who sold goods and services of more than $10,000 through eBay Australia and New Zealand.

News of the crackdown comes one day after Mr Rohrsheim criticised the Queensland government for not bothering to ask about the companys safety procedures.

Uber had been a hot topic in Brisbane, where two cab drivers faced court last week for allegedly bashing up two men because they were Uber drivers.