ATO confirms commitment to data matching programs

January 2017

The ATO has made a clear public commitment to data matching to manage tax compliance. 

As Australians have been watching the furore unfold over the impact of automated programs for debt collection from Centrelink, the ATO has confirmed that its data matching program will continue. 

What does the ATO match?

The ATO's data matching program takes the following into consideration:

  • Credit and debit card payments, including the name and the contact details of the merchant and the quantity of transactions processed;
  • Share transactions from various share registries;
  • Online selling data where the entity sold goods and services of $12,000 or more in the relevant income year. 

An aim for voluntary compliance matched with a big stick

The ATO publishes the details of its data matching program in part to promote voluntary compliance with tax laws on the basis that taxpayers should be more likely to disclose income if they know the ATO has access to relevant data.

The ATO often don't get it right

Despite the deep data dive and access by the ATO, they do get it wrong. We had a recent case of the ATO data matching a property that a client had sold that had then been on-sold by the new owner. The ATO tried to assess our client for the additional gain. With the help of the right records and advocating on behalf of our client, we were able to put the matter to rest quickly. 

This underscores the importance of working with your accountant in matters where tax issues like these arise and also the importance of keeping good records for tax purposes. Your accountant is often best placed to both identify the issue and help you to resolve it when data matching gets it wrong. 

Follow Bates Cosgrave on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter


This article is provided for information purposes only and correct at the time of publication. It should not be used in place of advice from your accountant. Please contact us on 02 9957 4033 to discuss your specific circumstances.

Share this

Get Small Business News each month

ChineseLanguage Select