Australian Tax Authority Digging Through Purchase Data

September 24, 2010 Taxation in Australia

Duranbah_17052009 522The Australian Tax Office intends to expand its anti-tax evasion operations by combing through years of extensive automobile and property purchases records to find evidence of tax evasion.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will soon send official requests to all of the Australian state governments for extensive historical property and automobile purchase data. The ATO hopes to collect all the available information on property title transfers between July 1st 1999 and June 30th 2010. The ATO will also request data on all vehicles sold, transferred or newly registered between July 1st 2009 and June 30th 2010 which are valued in excess of AUD 10 000 (approx. USD 9 500).

Explaining the reason for requesting such extensive purchase data Michael D’Ascenzo, Tax Commissioner of Australia, said: “We’re also looking at whether a person’s income was not sufficient to support the purchase… If that person is associated with a business, we want to make sure the purchase is not being funded by skimming some or all of the cash takings.” The ATO has previously concentrated exclusively on data concerning the purchase of luxury vehicles. However, Michael D’Ascenzo said that “the net is now being cast much wider,” indicating that the ATO will shift to a greater focus on eradicating tax evasion by common businesses, and not just high-income earners.

All collected information will be processed through the ATO’s data matching network to detect discrepancies between the actual and declared financial affairs of taxpayers. The new requests come as part of the ATO’s move to fully utilize its new AUD 800 million (approx. USD 761 million) upgraded data-matching system. It is expected that the new infrastructure will process approximately 220 million tax records throughout the 2010 year alone.

Photo by Michael Dawes