In this series, we’re delving into the world of the Shared Economy. This post provides you with all you need to know about accommodation sharing.

You’re getting into a stranger’s car on a Saturday night and under some obligation you feel like you have start up a conversation. You find yourself sticking to the standard Uber small talk script – ‘so Uber huh? How exciting – Why’d you decide to do that?’ After hearing the usual spiel from the driver, have you ever had the thought – ‘hey… maybe I should give it go?’

Here’s our quick guide to ridesharing and how to get involved.

What is Ridesharing?

Put simply, ride sharing, a major player in Australia’s collaborative consumption movement, is the sharing of vehicles by passengers to reduce travel costs, vehicle trips, traffic congestion and automobile emissions.

Platforms such as Uber, RideBoom and Backseat are at the forefront of this trend, making the traditional taxi services just… so 2010.

How to Become a Rideshare Driver:

Like any relationship, ride-sharing apps are based on trust – and a series stringent safety measures.

Mr Ducros, founder of Backseat says:

‘ensuring the safety of users and drivers is our number one priority.’

Step 1: Satisfy the Requirements

There are a number of requirements that you must meet before you can become a driver. The requirements vary slightly depending on which platform you decide to join – but generally, to be a ride-sharing driver in NSW you need to:

  • Be at least 20 years old; and
  • Hold an Australian unrestricted licence for at least one year; and
  • Be an Australian or New Zealand Citizen/ PR or hold an Australian Working Visa; and
  • Hold a ‘Hire Car Authority Card’ (driving background and criminal check included) from Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) that allows you to commercially drive hire cars in NSW; and
  • Pass a medical check by your local GP.

Step 2: Pass the Vehicle Checks

Your vehicle must also satisfy certain requirements. For example, Uber conducts safety checks on all vehicles as a prerequisite to registration, as well as random weekly vehicle testing.

Step 3: Register for an Australian Business Number (ABN)

As a ridesharing driver, you are not an employee, instead you are an independent contractor – meaning you must register for an ABN. You can easily register an ABN with LawPath. Start managing your tax affairs accordingly – any money you make is considered income, and you must declare it on your tax return.

If your ABN has been recently cancelled, don’t panic! Read our guide on How to Re-active your ABN.

Step 4: Register for GST

From August 2015, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) confirmed that in addition to the tax paid on your income earned, drivers must submit the GST portion of ride fares to the ATO.You must register for GST, even if you earn less than the $75,000 threshold.

Read more about the 5 New Tax Implications for the Sharing Community here.

Step 5: Keep Clear Records and Claim Accordingly

When it comes to claiming deductions related to a vehicle, like any job, you must keep a clear and organised record.

Consider keeping a logbook to keep up with all the kilometres you’ll be driving. This makes it easier for you to calculate the work-related portion of your car use, in a way that the ATO recognises.

Sounds too tedious? Don’t worry – There are some perks! There are a range of deductions you can claim as a driver, for example – registration, insurance, repairs, car maintenance and cleaning costs. You can even claim Spotify, Pandora or apple subscription fees.

Not a great driver? Learn how to become a host for accommodation sharing in Part IV of our Shared Economy Series.

Sharlene Han

Sharlene is a paralegal at LawPath that works on our content team, which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. In accordance to her belief that the law should be accessible by all, her writing focuses on trending topics in both the legal and technological spheres.