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  • Appendix 9: Use of access powers

    In most circumstances, we work cooperatively with taxpayers and third parties in obtaining relevant information without having to exercise our formal powers. Our publication Access and information gathering manual contains the policies and procedures for the use our powers.

    Use of formal information gathering notices is necessary where third parties, such as financial institutions, are required to provide private tax related information to us. They are also necessary to establish the relevant facts and evidence in audits and other investigations.

    On 10 occasions we needed to gather relevant information using our powers to obtain access without notice.

    During 2016–17, there were 16,366 formal notices issued across all markets to obtain relevant information and documents. These included situations where we combined notices for information and documents with notices requiring formal interviews.

    TABLE 5.13 Formal access and information-gathering powers used by the Commissioner, 2016–17
    Access No. of approved submissions
    With notice 27
    Without notice 10
    Immediate 0
    TOTAL 37
    Formal information-gathering notices No. of notices
    Information or document 16,004
    Attend and give evidence 327
    Formal offshore requests 35
    TOTAL 16,366

    Care should be taken in extrapolating trends from this data. Figures include all formal notices issued, including the re-issue of a formal notice, and do not represent the number of taxpayers who have received a formal notice. Much of the increase in numbers is attributable to requests for third-party information or documents from banks where client confidentiality requires the use of formal notices.

    Use of assumed identities

    Our employees may use assumed identities to gather intelligence and evidence against individuals and criminal networks under investigation. Under the Crimes Act 1914, we are required to regularly audit records of authorisations and revocations of assumed identities.

    As at 30 June 2017, there were no authorisations for our field intelligence staff to hold assumed identities.

      Last modified: 30 Oct 2017QC 53724