Computer assisted verification for businesses

If you maintain electronic (financial) records, we will consider the use of computer assisted verification (CAV) techniques to analyse these records. These techniques will not be appropriate in every compliance activity.

What are the benefits of CAV?

The use of CAV in audits and other compliance activities has a range of benefits including:

  • it is cheaper and more efficient to provide information electronically
  • fewer requests to supply paper copies of transactions and reports
  • providing electronic information reduces the time we spend on your premises, minimising disruption to your regular business activities.

A tax officer skilled in CAV techniques will also be able to analyse your electronic information more efficiently, accurately and thoroughly than if they had used manual processes.

The CAV process – how does it work?

Accessing your records

Using formal access powers we are permitted full and free access to documents required for the purposes of the Acts we administer. 'Documents' includes electronically stored information.

We will usually seek access to your information through a cooperative approach, which will involve consulting with you on the records required.

Supplying electronic information

When we identify a need for electronic information to be provided, we will schedule a meeting with you to understand the:

  • (accounting) systems you use if we have not already done so
  • format and extent of electronic records available
  • electronic records required
  • documentation available to assist in our analysis – for example, your chart of accounts, reference tables or data dictionary.

Your tax adviser and information technology specialists are welcome to attend this meeting.

We will request that you download a copy of the mutually agreed electronic information from your system to any of the following:

  • a virus free CD or DVD (tax officer will provide disk if requested)
  • the ATO BDE portal
  • a tax officer's biometric thumb drive
  • any other agreed medium.

We recommend you keep a copy of the electronic information you supply to us for your own records. We will also provide a letter confirming receipt of the requested information.

Data review and analysis

We use specialised CAV software to verify that the electronic information you provide is accurate and complete. We then conduct a series of tests on your data to ensure you comply with the tax law. Tests are conducted in accordance with the nature of the compliance activity being undertaken.

Our CAV software will read the electronic information provided but does not allow any changes to be made to the data you have supplied.

There is no risk to your computer system

The CAV process involves you downloading a copy of the required electronic information. We will not operate your computer system.

What happens when the compliance activity is completed?

The original electronic information will be stored as part of a case file kept as a record of the compliance activity.

Your information is secure

Electronic and paper records you provide for the compliance activity are protected by law. Your information is maintained in accordance with both:

See also:

Your rights

It is important that you are aware of your rights and obligations when dealing with us. If we advise you that we intend to undertake compliance activities in relation to your tax affairs, we will tell you about your relevant rights and obligations as set out in the taxpayers’ charter.

See also:

In addition to Taxpayers’ Charter – what you need to know (NAT 2548), which sets out your rights and obligations, the charter booklet If you’re subject to review or audit (NAT 2558) tells you what you can expect if you’re subject to a face-to-face enquiry or audit from us.

More information

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

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, phone us 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 on Link and ask for the ATO number you need.
    Last modified: 17 Aug 2016QC 17345