Each year the ATO compares information from tax returns with information they receive from third parties. Where discrepancies have been identified, the ATO will generally take compliance action. This includes the issuing of discrepancy letters and amending returns.
This year, the ATO has indicated that there are two common areas that will again be under review where income is being omitted from tax returns.
- Capital gains tax
The ATO, as part of its data matching program, will use information from a number of external sources. These sources will include land title offices, offices of state revenue, share registries and the Australian Stock Exchange to identify capital gains tax (CGT).Information will then be compared with income tax returns, as well as with those who are not lodging returns. The ATO’s use of technology and sharing of information with other parties has revealed that some tax payers are omitting capital gains from their sales of property and shares.
- Foreign source income
The ATO’s data sources are not just limited locally, those that drive income from foreign sources need to also be dilligent when reporting their income.
The ATO receive information from our double tax agreement treaty partners, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
One of the key issues the ATO faces is that some tax payers believe they don’t need to include income which they have derived overseas in their Australian income tax returns.
Individuals who derive income overseas may also find that they are eligible for a foreign tax offset for any foreign tax they have paid.