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Tag Archive for ATO

Australian Tax Office Tax Residency Determination Tools Released

The Australian Taxation Office recently published interactive “residency tools” to assist in determining whether a person arriving in or leaving from Australia, will be “resident” for tax purposes. The “tools” can be found at-

Random “testing” of the “residency tools” indicates that the Tax Office is likely to regard non-citizens coming to Australia to take up contracts of 2 or more years to be resident for tax purposes. This can have serious outcomes for senior executives coming to Australia.

Being regarded as an Australian resident for tax purposes means that being exposed to Read more

Australian Tax Office Adopts “Voiceprint” Technology

The ATO has adopted voiceprint technology as an option for identification of callers. Members of the community who use a telephone to interact with the ATO can elect to have a short “voiceprint” recorded. This will be used to verify the person’s identity for subsequent calls.

Second Commissioner Geoff Leeper disclosed that “In the last fortnight, over 30,000 Australians have already chosen to use our voice verification technology.” The ATO believes that the “voiceprint” identification will allow it to provide a more efficient and secure service. This is in the context of a call rate of some 8 million per year.

The ATO’s “voiceprint” technology creates a digital representation of the sound, rhythm, Read more

Australian Tax Office (ATO) Also Warns On Scams

This week the ATO warned taxpayers to “…be aware of fraudsters as they target people lodging their income tax returns by the 31 October deadline”. It was revealed that 45,588 reports of actual or attempted tax scams had been recorded during the year to 30 June. The ATO encouraged taxpayers to report scams directly to them.

Chief Technology Officer Todd Heather said “This year we are seeing more targeted scams sent to taxpayers where the perpetrators make the email more convincing by using the latest ATO website imagery and the names and signatures of real ATO staff”. He also noted “…a nasty phone scam where taxpayers are threatened with arrest if they do not pay a fake tax debt over the phone”. Read more

Australian Tax Office Ramps Up Offshore Money Chase

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is ramping up its “Project Do It” assault on offshore tax evasion by Australian residents. It is encouraging residents with undisclosed offshore funds to take advantage of an amnesty before 19 December 2014.

To date, some 375 residents have made disclosures under the amnesty arrangements. Approximately AUD37 million has been reported so far.

According to the Taxation Office, a further 450 or so residents have indicated they propose to make a voluntary disclosure under the amnesty.

A new interactive webpage ( has been launched dealing with global tax evasion. Read more

Australian Taxation Office Mines Data For Undisclosed Offshore Income And Assets

Information in an Australian Tax Office press release last Monday indicates that information designed to identify undeclared assets and income will be “mined” from:

• overseas tax authorities regarding Australians with offshore investments and bank accounts;
• Australian and foreign banks on fund flows, interest and account balances;
• informants about offshore accounts; and
• money transfers to and from offshore bank accounts.

In the press release, Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said “…the new information would be used to encourage people to disclose under Project DO IT, the Read more

Australia’s Mooted Offshore “Amnesty” – Immunity From Prosecution Unclear

Although various tax advisers and some industry bodies have already expressed enthusiasm about the apparent generous nature of the just mooted “amnesty” for Australian tax evaders with offshore interests, there is as yet no certainty of immunity from criminal prosecution being available.

In this connection, The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) does not actually have the authority to grant immunity. Only the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has the power to grant immunity from prosecution. Under the Australian Government’s Prosecution Policy, the DPP can give favourable consideration to refraining from prosecution under a “public interest” clause. Read more

Australian Tax Office Proposes “Push” Returns

Time for tax conceptIn a speech to the CPA Congress 
in Canberra on 17 October 2013, Tax Office (“ATO”) Second Commissioner Neil Olesen outlined plans for “push” tax returns for Australian individual taxpayers as from 2014. He said:

“The ATO has substantial amounts of information about taxpayers and for those with simple returns, we estimate that on current policy settings we could initially offer a ‘push’ tax return for as many as 1.4 million people, and in fact are aiming to do so next year (2014).

The key principle here is to use the information we already routinely receive about taxpayers affairs (for example, salary and wage income, bank interest, shares and dividends) to send the tax return to the taxpayer, rather than the current way where all we offer is a pre-fill service while still requiring the taxpayer to prepare and lodge a return each year.

In Australia there are some reasons why we could not offer this service widely (eg some complex deductions) but over time and with some careful and creative thinking we think we could effectively liberate around 4.5 million taxpayers from any significant response burden at tax time.”

Interestingly, the Australian Financial Review’s Agnes King reported on 22 October 2013 “Corner store tax agents are confident the federal government’s plans ­to supply 1.4 million people with pre-populated electronic tax returns to which they tick “yes” or “no” will not have a material impact on business.” Read more