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  • Top 320 private groups tax performance program

    The Top 320 private groups tax performance program is an engagement and assurance approach under the Tax Avoidance Taskforce. The program seeks to address community perceptions that some of Australia’s high wealth individuals and their associated entities do not pay the right amount of tax. It involves intensive one-to-one engagement with a focus on prevention rather than correction of tax disputes for these groups.

    Private groups operate some of Australia's largest and most successful businesses. Many have complex financial and legal arrangements. When compared to the disclosure requirements for public groups, private groups are less transparent and have limited financial disclosure obligations. Given the importance of this group to community confidence in the tax and super systems, we have an ongoing engagement and compliance focus to address tax risks that may arise.

    Taxpayers covered

    The Top 320 private groups were identified using the following turnover and net asset criteria:

    • groups with >$350 million turnover, regardless of net asset value
    • groups with >$500 million net assets, regardless of turnover
    • groups with >$100 million turnover AND >$250 million net assets
    • market leaders or groups of specific interest.

    Tailored engagement

    We engage with the top 320 private groups through an intensive one-to-one engagement approach designed to provide assurance that private groups are paying the right amount of tax. Interactions with top 320 clients are tailored considering the following factors:

    • the client’s overall tax performance
    • the effectiveness of tax governance
    • existing ATO dealings currently underway
    • the transactional nature of the client’s business
    • areas highlighted in What Attracts Our Attention by the POWG web publication and their relevance to the client
    • the client’s compliance history
    • areas within the client’s business that have historically generated tax risk
    • the level of cooperation and transparency.

    Through this one-to-one approach, the program:

    • promotes transparency between us and clients
    • builds our understanding of the client group, their business, their drivers and their risk position.

    If the Top 320 private groups are found to be undertaking aggressive tax planning and not paying the correct amount of tax, we will influence and address this behaviour using tailored engagement strategies including income adjustments and penalties.

    Intended outcomes

    The Top 320 Tax Performance Program provides clients, the ATO and the community with greater certainty over the tax affairs of large private groups. We are increasing willing participation through real time, pre-lodgement activities that our largest privately owned groups are actively participating in and complying with their registration, lodgement, reporting and payment obligations.

    The one-to-one focus of the program helps to improve our understanding and our risk detection systems, including our ability to identify emerging risks and new non-compliant groups/individuals.

    We are working directly with our largest clients to identify issues and resolve potential disputes pre-lodgement. We have reduced compliance costs by adopting prevention before correction approaches and assisting the Top 320 Private Groups to get it right up front.

    Where we have justified trust (ie a reasonable and defensible judgement based on sufficient evidence) that clients are complying with their tax obligations, we can provide tax assurance that the client is paying their fair share of tax, further promoting community confidence.

    See also:

    Last modified: 23 Oct 2018QC 53710