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  • How we assure the tax and super systems

    We have an obligation to maintain the integrity of the tax and super systems for the benefit of all Australians.

    We are supportive of the majority of people who do the right thing. We're also committed to detecting and dealing with those who intentionally and dishonestly choose to avoid their tax and super obligations by either:

    • aggressively minimising their tax
    • trying to claim refunds or other payments to which they are not entitled.

    We maintain the integrity of the tax and super systems by combining intelligence activities, audits, criminal investigations and prosecutions. We work with partner agencies to deliver services, share data, intelligence and expertise, and participate in multi-agency task forces.

    Our tax and super systems operate under a self-assessment regime. This means we usually accept the information you provide in the first instance. To ensure the integrity of the tax system, the law provides us with a period where we may review your reports and returns. This period of review depends on a number of factors, including whether or not you are in business and whether tax was avoided as a result of a scheme or fraud.

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    Assuring the integrity of the ABR

    The Australian Business Register (ABR) stores details about businesses and organisations that register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). This includes a unique business identifier, the ABN, and core business information such as, the business registration date, the main industry the business is in, the associates of the business and the contact details. Federal, state and territory, and local governments use this information to inform their service delivery and policy decisions and to reduce the costs to businesses of interacting with government.

    The Registrar of the Australian Business Register undertakes comprehensive integrity checks to make sure the register is up-to-date. These checks also help identify and cancel registrations where there is no entitlement to an ABN, or the business is no longer operating.

    It's important the ABR is accurate and that only businesses entitled to an ABN are issued one because:

    • businesses and the community use the ABR over 600 million times a year to verify information
    • over 500 government agencies use the ABR to inform policy, assist decisions and support regulatory functions – with the objective of reducing the costs to business of interacting with government.

    The ABR integrity activities include:

    • targeting high-risk industries and taking a whole-of-industry approach to make sure businesses use ABNs correctly when engaging workers
    • reviewing employers suspected of incorrectly advising their workers to obtain an ABN
    • reviewing ABNs identified as not being used for business
    • targeting specific visa holders with a high risk of no ABN entitlement
    • removing ABNs that show no signs of business activity in the past two years
    • identifying ABN holders with incomplete or invalid business information and asking them to update their information.

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    Last modified: 05 Jul 2017QC 44375