Show download pdf controls
  • AUSTRAC transaction report information 17 June 2021 to 30 June 2027 data-matching program protocol

    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) undertakes the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) transaction report information data-matching program.

    On this page

    AUSTRAC data

    Under the program, the ATO obtains bulk data consisting of information reported to AUSTRAC for:

    • international funds transfer instructions
    • threshold reports (excluding gambling)
    • threshold reports (including gambling)
    • solicitor transactions reports
    • suspicious matters
    • cross-border movement of monetary instruments (including physical cash and bearer negotiable instruments).

    This program compliments the existing cooperative framework that allows AUSTRAC and the ATO to perform their respective legal functions efficiently and effectively. The joint framework commenced in 2005 under the Financial Transactions Reports Act 1988 and now continues under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006External Link (AML/CTF Act). The operation of the framework is agreed in the joint Memorandum of understanding between the two agencies.

    Due to recent Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020External Link (effective 17 June 2021) changes to the AML/CTF Act, this data-matching program is to complement the established joint framework.

    Since 2005, the AUSTRAC transaction report information (AUSTRAC data) has been disclosed to the ATO on a regular basis, and this continues under the original joint framework . This protocol outlines our use of AUSTRAC data from 17 June 2021 to 30 June 2027.

    AUSTRAC data is an important source of financial intelligence for the ATO.

    The ATO uses AUSTRAC data for the administration and enforcement of tax and superannuation laws to:

    • ensure entities, including individuals are meeting their tax and super obligations
    • detect potential high-risk transactions, including money movements in and out of Australia
    • identify and quantify compliance risks and suspected fraud to develop compliance strategies support the selection of compliance cases for further investigation
    • joint investigation and/or prosecution of serious criminal activity including tax evasion, money laundering or serious and organised crime.

    This data-matching program follows the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) Guidelines on data matching in Australian Government administration (2014).

    The guidelines assist Australian Government agencies to use data matching as an administrative tool in a way that:

    • complies with the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) and the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act)
    • is consistent with good privacy practice.

    The ATO has a responsibility to protect public revenue and to maintain community confidence in the integrity of the tax system. Our data-matching programs assist us to fulfil this responsibility.

    Why we look at AUSTRAC data

    AUSTRAC data is used widely in tax administration. It allows us to identify compliance risks including assessing registration, reporting, lodgment and payment obligations.

    The data will be used to:

    • detect omitted income, such as  
      • foreign income not reported in lodgments
      • unexplained financial transactions not reported in lodgments
       
    • detect tax evasion or fraud risks, such as  
      • arrangements designed to conceal assets and income, in order to avoid paying tax
      • fraudulent access to government support such as the ATO-administered measures of the Commonwealth Coronavirus Economic Response Package and government grants
       
    • support analytical models to detect high risk activity and cases for potential administrative action.

    We use AUSTRAC data to help identify more serious tax crime of high risk to the community and Australian revenue, including:

    • international tax crime
    • phoenix operations
    • identity crime
    • promoters of tax evasion schemes
    • organised crime
    • tax avoidance activity
    • black economy activity
    • refund fraud.

    Program objectives

    The objectives of this data-matching program are to:

    • promote voluntary compliance by communicating how we use external data with our own, to help encourage taxpayers to comply with their tax and super obligations
    • assist in building intelligence about individuals and businesses including broader tax risk trends and strategic analysis
    • gain insights to shape future treatment strategies, which may include educational or compliance activities as appropriate
    • help individuals and businesses to fulfil their tax and super registration, lodgment, reporting and payment obligations
    • identify opportunities to improve system integrity and mitigate tax revenue risk
    • provide insights to support our undertakings with joint regulatory agencies and law enforcement to identify and address the most serious and complex forms of financial crime
    • enable detection, investigation and/or prosecution of serious financial crime activity including tax evasion, terrorism financing, money laundering or serious and organised crime.

    How we use the data

    The data collected under this program will enable us to undertake a range of activities to support correct reporting of income.

    The data will be used to:

    • compare to our records and other data holdings, as part of the methodologies by which we select taxpayers for compliance activities
    • provide insights through models and analysis that support our regulatory approach, to reduce the impact of financial crime
    • design ways to make it easier for our clients to interact with the system and get their affairs right.

    We don't use AUSTRAC data to initiate automated action or compliance activities.

    AUSTRAC data identifies discrepancies that may require closer examination. For example, AUSTRAC data showing regular large amounts of currency being transferred if a taxpayer reports negligible income.

    In this section

    Our previous related programs

    AUSTRAC data is a regularly used source of financial intelligence that supports our administration and enforcement of tax and super laws.

    In the last five financial years, 2016–17 to 2020–21, the ATO has used AUSTRAC data to raise liabilities of over $637 million from 12,881 cases.

    Data providers

    The ATO is the matching agency and the sole user of the data obtained during this data-matching program.

    Data will be obtained from AUSTRAC.

    Our formal information gathering powers

    Where appropriate to ensure statutory requirements are met, the data may be obtained under our formal information gathering powers contained in section 353-10 of Schedule 1 to the Taxation Administration Act 1953.

    This is a coercive power that obligates the data providers to provide the information requested.

    We will use the data for tax and super compliance purposes.

    AUSTRAC disclosure

    The disclosure of this AUSTRAC data is certified under section 125 of the AML/CTF Act

    Privacy Act

    Data will only be used within the limits prescribed by Australian Privacy Principle 6 (APP6) contained in Schedule 1 of the Privacy Act, in particular:

    • APP6.2(b) – the use of the information is required or authorised by an Australian law
    • APP6.2(e) – the ATO reasonably believes that the use of the information is reasonably necessary for our enforcement-related activities.

    Keeping data safe

    The data-matching program will be conducted on our secure systems that comply with the requirements of:

    All ATO computer systems are strictly controlled according to Australian Government security standards for government ICT systems, with features including:

    • system access controls and security groupings
    • login identification codes and password protection
    • full audit trails of data files and system accesses.

    We use the AUSTRAC web service information exchange application programming interface (API) to obtain the data from AUSTRAC.

    Data elements collected

    AUSTRAC will make available to the ATO, only the most current transaction report information. The data elements reported below relate to the following report types:

    • international funds transfer instructions
    • threshold reports (excluding gambling)
    • threshold reports (including gambling)
    • solicitor transactions reports
    • suspicious matters
    • cross-border movement of monetary instruments (including physical cash and bearer negotiable instruments).

    The below data elements made available to the ATO will depend on what is captured in the reporting process.

    Customer Identifiers

    • Payee and beneficiary customer identifiers
    • Payer and ordering customer identifiers
    • Currency owner
    • Other parties (organisations represented by agents, unidentified parties, beneficial owner, cheque payer/payee, office holder, account signatory)

    Institution details

    • Payee and beneficiary institution details
    • Payer and ordering institution details
    • Other institutions
    • Business structure

    Reporting entity details

    • Report submission dates
    • Report method
    • Report status
    • Report type code
    • Other

    Activity type

    • Primary or related transactions
    • Supplementary information

    Identifiers

    • Australian business number
    • Australian company number
    • Australian Credit Licence number
    • Australian Financial Services Licence
    • Australian Registered Body Number
    • Names (legal, main, alternative, former, trading, branch, other)
    • Addresses (residential, postal, business/residential, country of citizenship, country of incorporation, business, billing, registered office, temporary, unknown, work)
    • Phone numbers (international, telephone, mobile, fax)
    • Electronic addresses (website, social media)
    • Date of birth and country of birth
    • Account details (account type, BSB, account number, account title, institution name, branch and country)
    • Licence information (drivers, passport, photo ID, membership ID, social security or benefits, student, security, other)
    • AUSTRAC remittance details
    • Foreign tax number
    • Bank identification code

    Account type

    • Betting
    • Bullion
    • Cheque savings
    • Credit, custodial
    • e-currency
    • Foreign currency
    • First home saver
    • Lease/hire purchase
    • Loan or mortgage
    • Investment
    • Insurance policy
    • Remittance
    • Pension or annuity
    • Retirement savings
    • Trading
    • Stored value card
    • Cash management
    • Other

    Transaction details

    • Type
    • Dates
    • Direction
    • Total amount
    • Cash amount
    • Currency code
    • Country code
    • Instrument detail
    • Designated service (service that supports the transaction)

    Instrument details

    • Instrument type
    • Instrument amount
    • Currency code
    • Digital currency amount
    • Digital currency code
    • Digital currency backing asset type
    • Digital currency description
    • Digital currency amount
    • Other

    Cross-border movement

    • Arrive or depart
    • Port name, city,country
    • Carry, send/receive physical cash or bearer negotiable instrument(s)
    • Flight number or ship name
    • Flags (signature provided, verified ID, currency verified, voluntary declaration or caveat to be printed)
    • Officer badge number
    • Verification date
    • Infringement notice number

    Offence type

    • Money laundering
    • Financing of terrorism
    • Offence against commonwealth, state or territory
    • Proceeds of crime
    • Tax evasion
    • Person or agent is not who they claim to be

    Party type

    • Individual
    • Non-individual

    Number of records

    Approximately nine million individuals are expected to be affected by this data collection each financial year.

    Data quality

    We anticipate that the data quality will continue to be of a high standard. AUSTRAC data is of a high quality and regularly relied on for administration of the tax system.

    The data is sourced from providers' systems and may not be available in a format that can be readily processed by our systems.

    We apply extra levels of scrutiny and analytics to verify the quality of the data. This includes but is not limited to:

    • meeting with data providers to understand their data holdings, including their data use, data currency, formats, compatibility and natural systems
    • sampling data to ensure it is fit for purpose before fully engaging providers on task
    • verification practices at receipt of data to check against confirming documentation; we then use algorithms and other analytical methods to refine the data.

    Data is transformed into a standardised format and validated to ensure that it contains the required data elements prior to loading to our computer systems.

    We conduct program evaluations to measure effectiveness before determining whether to continue to collect future years of the data or to discontinue the program.

    To assure data is fit for consumption and maintains integrity throughout the data-matching program, it is assessed against the 11 elements of the ATO data-quality framework:

    1. accuracy – the degree to which the data correctly represents the actual value
    2. completeness – if all expected data in a data set is present
    3. consistency – whether data values in a data set are consistent with values elsewhere within the data set or in another data set
    4. currency – how recent the time period is that the data set covers
    5. precision – the level of detail of a data element
    6. privacy – access control and usage monitoring
    7. reasonableness – reasonable data is within the bounds of common sense or specific operational context
    8. referential integrity – when all intended references within a data set or with other data sets, are valid
    9. timeliness – how quickly the data is available for use from the time of collection
    10. uniqueness – if duplicated files or records are in the data set
    11. validity – data values are presented in the correct format and fall within a predefined set of values.

    Data retention

    The AUSTRAC data collected for this program is for the period 17 June 2021 to 30 June 2027.

    AUSTRAC data is collected daily and is made available for use in the ATO's enterprise data environment.

    We will keep each financial year of data for five years unless necessary for another lawful purpose. The retention period for each financial year of data collected will commence when we receive the final instalment of verified data files from AUSTRAC, or from the relevant financial year the data is made available whichever is the later.

    We destroy data that has met its legal retention period and is no longer required. This is in accordance with the Archives Act 1983 and the records authorities issued by the National Archives of Australia, both general and ATO-specific.

    The data is required to be kept for five years to protect public revenue as:

    • it enables us to undertake verification activities retrospectively
    • the data enhances our ability to identify taxpayers who may not be complying with their tax and super obligations, which is integral to the protecting the integrity of the tax and super systems
    • supports our general compliance approach of reviewing an assessment within the applicable claiming period, which also aligns with the requirements for taxpayers to keep their records.
    • destruction of the data would inhibit our ability to identify taxpayers who may be subject to administrative action and therefore result in loss of public revenue.

    While increased data-retention periods may increase the risk to privacy, we have a range of safeguards to appropriately manage and minimise this. ATO systems and controls are designed to ensure the privacy and security of the data we manage.

    See also

    Public notification of the program

    We will notify the public of our continuing collection of the AUSTRAC data for 17 June 2021 to 30 June 2027 by:

    • publishing a notice in the Federal Register of Legislation gazettes on 13 October 2021
    • publishing this data-matching program protocol on our website at ato.gov.au/dmprotocols
    • advising the data providers that they can notify their clients of their participation in this program
    • AUSTRAC privacy policyExternal Link on their website includes that personal information is disclosed to ATO for data-matching purposes.

    Gazette notice content

    The following information about the data-matching program appears as a gazette notice in the Federal Register of Legislation.

    Gazette notice: Commissioner of Taxation – Notice of the AUSTRAC transaction report information data-matching program 13 October 2021

    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will acquire AUSTRAC transaction report information data from AUSTRAC for the period of 17 June 2021 through to 30 June 2027.

    The data items include information reported to AUSTRAC for:

    • international funds transfer instructions
    • threshold reports (excluding gambling)
    • threshold reports (including gambling)
    • solicitor transactions reports
    • suspicious matters
    • carry mail and physical cash
    • bearer negotiable instruments.

    The data elements made available to the ATO will depend on what is captured in the reporting process and they can include:

    • Identifying information of customers and institutions facilitating the transactions  
      • payee and beneficiary customer identifiers and institution details
      • payer and ordering customer identifiers and institution details
      • currency owner
      • other parties or institutions (organisations represented by agents, unidentified parties, beneficial owner, cheque payer/payee, office holder, account signatory).
       
    • Identifiers  
      • Australian business number
      • Australian company number
      • Australian credit licence number
      • Australian Financial Services Licence
      • Australian Registered Body Number
      • names (legal, main, alternative, former, trading, branch, other)
      • addresses (residential, postal, business/residential, country of citizenship, country of incorporation, business, billing, registered office, temporary, unknown, work)
      • phone numbers (international, telephone, mobile, fax)
      • electronic addresses (website, social media)
      • date of Birth, country of birth
      • account details (Account type, BSB, account number, Account title, institution name, branch and country)
      • licence information (drivers, passport, photo ID, membership ID, social security/benefits, student, security, other)
      • AUSTRAC remittance details
      • foreign tax number
      • bank identification code.
       
    • Transaction details including transaction type, accounts, instruments, amounts and currency.

    We estimate that records relating to approximately nine million individuals will be obtained each financial year.

    The data will be acquired and matched to ATO data to support the administration and enforcement of tax and superannuation laws. These obligations may include registration, lodgment, reporting and payment responsibilities.

    The objectives of this program are to:

    • promote voluntary compliance by communicating how we use external data with our own, to help encourage taxpayers to comply with their tax and super obligations
    • assist in building intelligence about individuals and businesses including broader tax risk trends and strategic analysis
    • gain insights to shape future treatment strategies, which may include educational or compliance activities as appropriate
    • ensure individuals and businesses are fulfilling their tax and super registration, lodgment, reporting and payment obligations
    • identify opportunities to improve system integrity and mitigate tax revenue risk
    • provide insights to support our undertakings with joint regulatory agencies and law enforcement to identify and address the most serious and complex forms of financial crime.
    • enable detection, investigation and/or prosecution of serious financial crime activity including tax evasion, terrorism financing, money laundering or serious and organised crime.

    A document describing this program is available at ato.gov.au/dmprotocols.

    This program follows the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s Guidelines on data matching in Australian Government administration (2014) (the guidelines). The guidelines include standards for the use of data-matching as an administrative tool in a way that:

    • complies with the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) and the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act)
    • is consistent with good privacy practice.

    A full copy of the ATO’s privacy policy can be accessed at ato.gov.au/privacy.

    End of example
      Last modified: 22 Dec 2022QC 67019