• What are we doing to target GST non-compliance?

    The federal government has allocated an additional $552 million to the ATO (over the 2011-16 financial years) to administer the GST voluntary compliance program. The program introduces additional compliance activities aimed at improving voluntary GST compliance and providing a level playing field for taxpayers.

    What is the focus of the GST compliance program?

    The GST compliance program will focus on:

    • protecting the integrity of the refund system against fraud
    • deterring evasion to promote a level playing field for all taxpayers
    • providing ongoing support for businesses that are doing, or trying to do, the right thing with their GST obligations
    • improving the timely lodgement of activity statements
    • reducing unpaid debt.

    What does this mean for taxpayers who are not complying with their GST obligations?

    Taxpayers choosing to deliberately disregard the law and avoid their GST obligations will be caught and face consequences, including interest, penalties and - in serious cases - prosecution.

    We want to make sure that everyone pays their fair share of tax and taxpayers willing to do the right thing are not disadvantaged by unfair practices.

    How much GST-related revenue are we hoping to recover?

    Over the six-year life of the project, we expect to collect an additional $2.33 billion in GST for the Australian community from increased taxpayer compliance.

    An additional $2.38 billion in other non-GST revenue is also expected to be collected through the program.

    How do we detect those who avoid their GST obligations?

    We use a variety of approaches to detect and deal with GST non-compliance, including:

    • using new software and filters to detect incorrect or fraudulent refund claims or claims for credits on activity statements
    • data matching information with third parties, including government departments and agencies, to identify taxpayers that are not meeting their tax obligations
    • developing small business benchmarks for over 100 industries, enhancing our ability to detect businesses that may be avoiding their GST obligations by not reporting income
    • detecting and prosecuting those using false, manipulated or stolen identities to obtain fraudulent GST refunds
    • contacting taxpayers with outstanding activity statements
    • taking firmer action against taxpayers that do not work with us to resolve their debt.
    • detecting companies that generate serial insolvencies as a way of avoiding their tax obligations (phoenix activities)
    • focusing on property developers who cheat the community by not reporting GST on property sales and pocketing the GST paid by consumers
    • taking firmer action against those making fraudulent GST claims
    • auditing taxpayers who:
      • deliberately do not register for GST when they need to
      • intentionally do not report, or consistently under-report, income or other information
      • collude with others to evade their tax obligations
      • deliberately do not pay their GST debts.

    How many additional audits will take place as a result of this program?

    Over six years, the project aims to:

    • conduct an additional 6,500 audits with the specific purpose of looking at issues related to GST evasion (especially in the property sector) and GST refund integrity
    • verify an additional 63,000 refunds, leading to greater integrity within the GST system
    • check the integrity of record keeping and reporting systems used by approximately 9,000 entities to manage their GST obligations
    • complete an additional 1,500,000 cases where taxpayers have not met their lodgment obligations
    • refer 900,000 taxpayers with outstanding debts to external mercantile agencies for action

    What has the program delievered so far?

    In the first two years of the program:

    • We raised $763 million in additional GST liabilities from refund fraud and serious evasion risks, and lodgment enforcement activities.
    • We collected $568.8 million in GST through additional debt collection activities.
    • We raised more than $758.9 million in non-GST liabilities and collected $923.1 million in non-GST debt.
    • We have also undertaken around two million additional contacts with taxpayers to date regarding their lodgment obligations.

    Where can taxpayers get help?

    We are helping taxpayers that want to do the right thing with:

    • on-request assistance visits
    • tax seminars
    • help over the phone
    • online BAS lodgment
    • online assistance products.

    Where can taxpayers find more information?

    For more information about GST:

    • visit GST essentials
    • phone us on 13 28 66
    • write to us at
      Australian Taxation Office
      PO Box 3524
      ALBURY  NSW  2640

    If you do not speak English well and need help from the ATO, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.

    If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, phone the ATO through the National Relay Service (NRS) on the numbers listed below:

    • TTY users, phone 13 36 77 and ask for the ATO number you need
    • Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) users, phone 1300 555 727 and ask for the ATO number you need
    • internet relay users, connect to the NRS and ask for the ATO number you need.
      Last modified: 12 Feb 2013QC 25801