Tag Archive for Tax Office

Australian Tax Office Targets Online Merchants

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The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has announced that it will gather information from eBay Australia & New Zealand Pty Ltd about online sales transactions totaling $10,000 or more during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 tax years.

This data will be compared with the tax returns lodged by online traders as part of a new “online selling data matching program”. ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan says: “Our online selling data matching program helps us keep a level playing field for honest businesses. ”

Taxpayers whose returns do not reflect the income from their online trading may face penalty tax and interest charges. The harvesting of data is likely to be extended to other online auction and sales sites for 2013-2014 and later years. Read more

Pay Your Tax Or Get A Credit Rating Downgrade!

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According to Nassim Kadem’s article in today’s Australian Review (13 March 2014), the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has floated the idea of having outstanding tax debts listed by the personal credit rating agencies. This would require a change to the secrecy provisions of relevant taxation statutes.

However, in the last several decades, these provisions have been considerably watered down to accommodate information exchange between the ATO and various Australian and international government agencies. Accordingly, it might be expected that Australia’s Parliament will not be averse to the ATO suggestion.

ATO Second Commissioner Geoff Lepper was appearing before a Parliamentary hearing Read more

Australian Tax Office Information Gathering Guide

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The Australian Tax Office (ATO) recently released a guide on their approach to information gathering. The quite comprehensive 53 page guide provides an insight to both the principles adopted by the ATO in exercising their powers and the considerable extent of those powers.

Australia’s Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA 36) confers many of the relevant information gathering powers. These powers include both the power to give formal notices requiring information to be provided and formal access powers.

For example, §263 of ITAA 36 allows an authorized ATO officer to “…at all times have full and free access to all buildings, places, books, documents and other papers” and to Read more

Offshore Asset And Income Amnesty Mooted By Australia’s Tax Commissioner

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Nassim Kadem reports in today’s Australian Financial Review that recently appointed Commissioner Chris Jordan has mooted a new amnesty for disclosure of hidden offshore assets and income. A Tax Office official has confirmed the proposal and apparently, Treasurer Joe Hockey has indicated support for the idea.

The amnesty would cap the retrospective tax and penalty period to four years, making it relatively attractive for Australian taxpayers wanting to come clean and avoid later criminal prosecution and unlimited back taxes. It would be particularly attractive to second and third generation members of wealthy families who have “inherited” the problem of secret offshore caches. Read more

Australian Tax Office Issues Cash And Hidden Economy Audit Guide

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The Austrailian Tax Office (ATO) today issued a new guide for advisers and their clients regarding the way in which the ATO conducts audits in the cash and hidden economy area. The guide discusses “…risk indicators to identify businesses for review or audit” that “…include results from data matching, comparisons of business information against our small business benchmarks and reports from the community”. In this connection, the ATO has an on-line evasion reporting facility that is in the Australian vernacular, known as the “dob-in line”.

In the guide the ATO reveals that much of the data they rely upon is received from third parties such as on-line auction houses. Much of this data is likely to have been gathered by bot programs that use appropriate search terms. Accordingly, it is likely they will have data Read more