Tax Compliance: ATO to expand data matching
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has confirmed its intention to proceed with expanded data-matching and third party reporting activities, issuing a discussion paper to key stakeholders for comment.
The new measures are proposed to apply from 1 July 2014, and would establish new reporting systems for ATO analysis of:
- Taxable government grants and specified other government payments;
- Sales of real property, shares and units in managed funds;
- Sales through merchant debit and credit services;
- Managed investment trust and partnership distributions, company dividend and interest payments; and
- Transactions reported to the ATO by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
These new activities will be in addition to the existing data-matching activities undertaken by the ATO, which saw them cross-reference information reported in tax returns for the 2012 year against over 600 million transactions provided by third parties.
The ATO primarily uses this information to identify omitted income, such as capital gains from the sale of shares and property, and incorrectly claimed offsets.
Using this approach, the ATO has already contacted more than 500,000 taxpayers with apparent discrepancies in the information reported in their tax returns, and they report that nine out of ten returns were amended as a result of their enquiries.
From a practical perspective, this means that clients need to be extra-vigilant in ensuring that all information required for the preparation of a tax return if provided in full.
Clients should also understand that the ATO is increasingly sharing information with other government authorities, including the Office of State Revenue and WorkCover, and so care needs to be taken that the correct information is reported at all levels.
Should you have any questions about the above, or if you are concerned about information provided in past tax returns, you should contact your Goodwin Chivas & Co advisor on 02 9899 3044.