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  • How we use the data

    Services Australia

    We provide an individual's identifying information to Services Australia. This enables Services Australia to provide us with confirmation that the individual received specified income support payments or benefits. We can then compare the details in this confirmation with details provided in applications.

    Temporary early access to superannuation

    We provide to Services Australia the identifying details of individuals who applied for temporary early access to superannuation between 19 April 2020 and 31 December 2020.

    Services Australia then provides payment/benefit indicators where applicants specified they can receive the following government payments or benefits:

    • JobSeeker payment
    • parenting payment
    • special benefit
    • youth allowance (other than on the basis that the individual was undertaking full-time study or was a new apprentice)
    • farm household allowance.

    JobMaker Hiring Credit

    For each eligible additional employee hired between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021 we will provide to Services Australia identifying details of individuals who have been nominated by their employer for JobMaker Hiring Credit payments.

    Services Australia will provide an indicator confirming the additional employee received the required income support payments. The income support payments must have been received for at least 28 consecutive days within the 84 days prior to commencing employment between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021. The income support payments include:

    • JobSeeker payment
    • parenting payment
    • youth allowance (other than on the basis that the individual was undertaking full-time study or was a new apprentice).

    Correctional facility regulators

    We will obtain, from state and territory correctional facility regulators, data on individuals incarcerated between 1 March 2020 and 6 October 2021. We will use this data to compare against applications for JobKeeper, JobMaker, temporary early access to superannuation, and the eligibility criteria for cash flow boost to confirm appropriate access. More information about eligibility for the measures is published on our website at:

    Our previous related programs

    There are no previously related programs. A pilot was not conducted due to the limited timeframes to provide the support measures. Risk management processes identified this data will support eligibility verification. Samples confirm the suitability of the data. This data-matching program will:

    • mitigate the potential for individuals to take advantage of these measures for their own financial benefit, and
    • avoid any unnecessary contact from us for those that are genuinely eligible.

    Data providers

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

    Data will be obtained from the following:

    • Services Australia
    • Corrective Services New South Wales
    • Northern Territory Correctional Services
    • Territory Families
    • Queensland Corrective Services
    • Queensland Department of Youth Justice
    • Prisons Tasmania
    • Corrections Victoria
    • Corrective Services Western Australia
    • Australian Capital Territory Corrective Services
    • Australian Capital Territory Community Services
    • Department of Correctional Services of South Australia
    • South Australia Department of Human Services

    If other data and data providers become necessary to administer the COVID-19 measures this protocol will be updated to reflect any additions.

    Our formal information gathering powers

    The data will 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 information for tax and superannuation compliance purposes.

    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 and 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 the use of the information is reasonably necessary for our enforcement-related activities.

    Keeping data safe

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

    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 will use our secure internet-based data transfer facility to obtain the data from source entities.

    Data elements collected

    Data will be collected from Services Australia and state and territory correctional facility regulators.

    We negotiate with the selected data providers individually to obtain data held within their systems. The collected data may contain all or a selection of the fields listed below.

    Services Australia

    Temporary early access to super applicant identification details
    • Given and surname(s)
    • Date(s) of birth
    • Addresses (residential, postal, other)
    Activity details – confirmation of government payment or benefit
    • Government payment/benefit type (JobSeeker payment, parenting payment, special benefit, youth allowance – other than on the basis that the individual was undertaking full-time study or was a new apprentice, farm household allowance).
    • Date granted – including where claim for benefit is made and yet to be commenced
    • Ceased government payment/benefit
    • Date government payment/benefit ceased
    JobMaker Hiring Credit employee identification details
    • Given and surname(s)
    • Date(s) of birth
    • Transaction ID
    • Request Sequence number and timestamp
    • Response timestamp
    Activity details – confirmation of income support payment
    • Indicator of income support payment received within the applicable period.
    • Type of government income support payment received (JobSeeker payment, parenting payment, youth allowance – other than on the basis that the individual was undertaking full-time study or was a new apprentice).

    State and territory correctional facility regulators

    Client identification details – individuals
    • Given and surname(s)
    • Date(s) of birth
    • Addresses (residential, postal, other)
    Activity details – incarceration period
    • State of incarceration
    • Date of incarceration
    • Expected release date (if available)

    Number of records

    The data collected from Services Australia for temporary early access to superannuation for the period of 19 April 2020 to 31 December 2020 will relate to more than three million individuals.

    It is expected that around 450,000 positions for young Australians will be supported through the JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme from 2020–21 to 2022–23.

    The data collected from the state and territory correctional facility regulators for the period of 1 March 2020 to 6 October 2021 will relate to approximately 100,000 individuals.

    Data quality

    We anticipate that the data quality will be of a high standard. Services Australia data is of a high quality and regularly relied on for administration of the tax system. State and territory correctional facility administrators have sophisticated computer systems and regulatory obligations to maintain the quality of their records.

    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 it contains the required data elements prior to loading to our computer systems. We undertake 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:

    • accuracy – the data correctly represents the actual value
    • completeness – all expected data in a data set is present
    • consistency – data values are consistent with values within the data set
    • currency – how recent the time period is that the data set covers
    • precision – the level of detail of a data element
    • privacy – access control and usage monitoring
    • reasonableness – reasonable data is within the bounds of common sense or specific operational context
    • referential integrity – when all intended references within a data set is valid
    • timeliness – how quickly the data is available for use from the time of collection
    • uniqueness – if duplicated files or records are in the data set
    • validity – data values are presented in the correct format and fall within predefined values

    Data retention

    The data collected from Services Australia for the temporary early access to superannuation scheme is for the period of 19 April 2020 to 31 December 2020. This data was collected monthly, commencing in June 2020 with the final collection cycle in January 2021.

    The data collected from Services Australia for the JobMaker Hiring Credit scheme is for when income support payments have been received for at least 28 consecutive days within the 84 days prior to commencing employment between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021. This data will be collected daily, commencing on 1 February 2021 with the final collection cycle on 31 January 2023.

    The state and territory correctional facility data is collected every three months for the period of 1 March 2020 to 6 October 2021. This data collection will occur:

    • May to June 2020
    • October 2020
    • January 2021
    • April 2021
    • July 2021
    • October 2021.

    Due to the number of data providers, we collect data periodically. We work co-operatively with the data providers and aim to balance our requests against peaks and troughs of demand in a data provider's own business.

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

    We will retain Services Australia data for five years from receipt of the final instalment of all verified data files from the data provider.

    We will retain state and territory correctional facility regulators data for six years from receipt of the final instalment of all verified data files from the data providers.

    The data is required for these periods for the protection of public revenue as:

    • the data will enable pre and post issue compliance checks
    • the data enhances our ability to identify taxpayers who may not be complying with their tax and superannuation obligations, which is integral to the protecting the integrity of the tax and superannuation systems
    • retaining data for the specified periods supports our general compliance approach of reviewing an assessment within the standard period of review, which also aligns with the requirements for taxpayers to keep their records
    • the data is also used in risk models, including models that establish retrospective profiles over multiple years aligned with period of review.

    While longer 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:

      Last modified: 05 Feb 2021QC 63005