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  • Lifestyle assets data-matching program

    Find out about the purpose and objectives of the lifestyle assets data-matching program.

    On this page:

    Our lifestyle assets data-matching program has been in place since February 2016. Under the program, we have collected data on insurance policies for the 2013–14 to 2019–20 financial years, for certain classes of assets, including:

    • marine vessels
    • motor vehicles
    • thoroughbred horses
    • fine art
    • aircraft.

    We acquire data from insurance providers to improve our compliance risk profiling of taxpayers and provide a holistic view of their assets and accumulated wealth. This protocol document:

    • consolidates the existing 2013–14 to 2019–20 financial years program (published 18 December 2019)
    • outlines our intention to continue collecting lifestyle assets data for the additional period of the 2020–21 to 2022–23 financial years.

    Our data-matching programs follow the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s (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 responsibility to protect public revenue and to maintain community confidence in the integrity of the tax system. Our data-matching programs assist us to undertake these responsibilities.

    Why we look at lifestyle assets

    The lifestyle assets data-matching program will allow us to identify and address a number of taxation risks, including:

    • taxpayers accumulating or improving assets with insufficient income reported in their tax returns to show the financial means to pay for them
    • income tax and capital gains tax (CGT) – taxpayers disposing of assets and not declaring the revenue and/or capital gains on those disposals
    • goods and services tax (GST) – taxpayers may be purchasing assets for personal use through their business or related entities and claiming GST credits they are not entitled to
    • fringe benefits tax (FBT) – taxpayers may be purchasing assets through their business entities with no apparent nexus with their business activities, but rather applying those assets to the personal enjoyment of an associate or employee giving rise to a fringe benefits tax liability

    self-managed super funds (SMSFs) may be acquiring assets but applying them to the benefit of the fund's trustee or beneficiaries.

    Program objectives

    The objectives of this data-matching program are to:

    • promote voluntary compliance and increase community confidence in the integrity of the tax and superannuation systems
    • assist with profiling to provide compliance staff with a holistic view of a taxpayer's wealth
    • identify possible compliance issues with income tax, CGT, FBT, GST and superannuation obligations
    • determine avenues available to assist in debt management activities
    • gain insights from the data to help develop and implement treatment strategies to improve voluntary compliance; which may include educational or compliance activities as appropriate
    • identify and educate those individuals and businesses who may be failing to meet their registration or lodgment obligations and assist them to comply
    • help ensure that individuals and businesses are fulfilling their tax and superannuation reporting obligations.
      Last modified: 15 May 2023QC 66385