• Lifestyle assets 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years data matching program protocol

    At a glance

    We will obtain information on insurance policies for certain classes of assets, including marine vessels, enthusiast motor vehicles, thoroughbred races horse, fine art and aircraft.

    This data will improve our profiling of taxpayers and provide a more comprehensive view of their assets and accumulated wealth.

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

    • Asset betterment - taxpayers accumulating or improving assets but not including sufficient income in their taxation returns to show the financial means to pay for them
    • Income tax and capital gains - taxpayers disposing of assets and not declaring the revenue and/or capital gains on those disposals
    • GST - taxpayers may be purchasing assets for personal use through their business or related entities and claiming input tax credits they are not entitled to
    • Fringe benefits tax - taxpayers may be purchasing assets through their business entities, but apply those assets to the personal enjoyment of an associate or employee giving rise to a fringe benefits tax liability
    • Superannuation funds - self-managed superannuation funds 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:

    • Assist with profiling taxpayers, providing compliance staff with a holistic view of a taxpayer’s wealth
    • Identify possible compliance issues with income tax, capital gains tax, fringe benefits tax, GST and superannuation obligations
    • Identify avenues available to assist in debt management activities
    • Promote voluntary compliance and strengthen community confidence in the integrity of the taxation and superannuation systems
    • Ensure compliance with registration, lodgment, correct reporting and payment of taxation and superannuation obligations.

     How the data will be used

    The data will not be used directly to initiate compliance activity, but will be made available to compliance staff to assist in their profiling of taxpayers selected for audit and review activities through other methodologies. This existence of an insurance policy may prompt the compliance officer to pursue a particular line of enquiry.

    Learn more about what we will do before amending a return.

    Previous programs

    Marine insurance data has previously been obtained for the year ended 30 June 2011 for use in automated data matching and case selection processes. The use of the data in these processes proved useful in enhancing intelligence collection and provided a more comprehensive view of a taxpayer's wealth, however automated data matching was not the focus of this program.

    We believe the expansion of the classes of assets we collect data on will prove more useful when profiling taxpayer's before compliance action commences, particularly in situations where the financial information returned by a taxpayer is not reflective of their accumulated lifestyle assets.

    Data related matters

    Data matching and user agency

    We are the matching agency and in most cases the sole user of the data obtained in the course of this data matching program. The data matching program will be conducted on our secure systems in accordance with approved policies and procedures.

    In very limited and specific circumstances we may be permitted by law to disclose individual records to other government agencies.

    Learn more about our on-disclosure provisions.

    Data providers

    Data will be obtained from the insurers listed in the table below.

    • Affinity Equine Insurance Solutions
     
    • AIG Australia Ltd
     
    • Allianz
     
    • AON
     
    • Associated Marine Insurance Agents Pty Ltd
     
    • Australian Alliance Insurance Company Ltd
     
    • Catlin
     
    • CGU Insurance
     
    • Club Marine Ltd
     
    • Comminsurance
     
    • GIO General Insurance
     
    • IAG
     
    • Insurance Australia Ltd
     
    • Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd
     
    • Just Car Insurance
     
    • Lumley Special Vehicles
     
    • NRMA
     
    • QBE Insurance (Australia) Ltd
     
    • RAA
     
    • RACWA
     
    • RACQ Insurance Ltd
     
    • RACV
     
    • Shannons
     
    • Suncorp Metway Insurance Ltd
     
    • Wesfarmers General Insurance Ltd
     
    • Westpac
     
    • YOUi
     
    • Zurich
     

    Current as at 15 February 2016

    The list of data providers will progressively be expanded and this list updated as we obtain data from other general and specialist insurers.

    Data elements

    Data will be collected for the following classes of assets.

    Asset class

    Asset value threshold

    Marine vessels

    > $ 100,000

    Enthusiast motor vehicles

    > $ 50,000

    Thoroughbred horses

    > $ 65,000

    Fine art

    > $ 100,000 per item

    Aircraft

    > $ 150,000

    We will obtain the following information from the data providers for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years:

    Client identification details - individuals

    • Given and surname(s) (if more than one name on the policy)
    • Date of birth(s)
    • Addresses (residential, postal, other)
    • Australian business number (if applicable)
    • Email address
    • Telephone numbers

    Client identification details - non-individuals

    • Legal and trading names
    • Addresses (business, postal, registered, other)
    • Australian business number and/or Australian company number
    • Contact name
    • Contact phone
    • Contact email address

    Policy details

    • Policy number
    • Policy inception date
    • State date of current policy
    • End date of current policy
    • Total value insured
    • Purchase price of the property insured
    • Registration number or identification number of the property
    • Insurance category
    • Description of the property insured
    • Physical location of the property

    Number of records

    We anticipate obtaining records of more than 100,000 policies, many of which will be held by individuals.

    Data quality

    It is anticipated that the data quality will be of a high standard. Insurance companies have sophisticated computer systems, and they have prudential and due diligence obligations to maintain the quality of their records, especially for actuarial purposes.

    Preliminary discussions have been held with the data providers and they have indicated they are able to extract the data in accordance with the specifications that the ATO has provided them.

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

    Learn more about:

    Data retention

    We are seeking to have the Privacy Commissioner exercise his discretion and allow the ATO to vary from the data destruction requirements contained in the Guidelines.

    The collection of data under this program protocol is expected to occur in the period February 2016 to April 2016.

    We are seeking to retain the data until June 2019 on the basis that its retention is required for the protection of public revenue. Current Guidelines allow for a twelve month retention. Destroying the data in the timeframes contained in the Guidelines would hinder our ability to protect public revenue by hindering our ability to form a holistic view of a taxpayers asset position once additional data in the form of annual returns becomes available.

    See the submission to the Privacy Commissioner setting out the basis for seeking the variation to the data destruction guidelines and its impacts on individual privacy.

    Public notification of the program

    We will notify the public of our intention to undertake this program by:

    • publishing a notice in the Commonwealth government notices gazette in the week commencing 15 February 2016 - view the content of the gazette notice
    • publishing this data matching program protocol on our website at Data matching protocols
    • advising the data providers they
      • can notify their clients of their participation in this program and provided written materials to assist with this
      • should update their privacy policies to note that personal information is disclosed to us for data matching purposes.
       

    We also notified tax professionals and others that subscribe to our update services that we intend to undertake this data matching program in an announcement on 18 January 2016.

    Gazette notice content

    Commissioner of Taxation - Notice of a data matching program

    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will acquire details of insurance policies for certain classes of assets, including marine vessels, enthusiast motor vehicles, thoroughbred horses, fine art and aircraft where the value exceeds nominated thresholds for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years.

    The data items that will be obtained are personal details of:

    • Policy holder identification details (names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, etc)
    • Insurance policy details (policy number, start and end date, asset insured, physical location of the asset etc).

    It is estimated that records of more than 100,000 insurance policies will be obtained.

    A full list of the specialist and general insurers we will be obtaining data from is contained in the data matching program protocol (refer below for a link to this document).

    These records will be electronically matched with ATO data holdings to identify non-compliance with registration, lodgment, reporting and payment obligations under taxation laws.

    The objectives of this data matching program are to:

    • Assist with profiling taxpayers, providing compliance staff with a holistic view of a taxpayer’s wealth
    • Identify possible compliance issues with income tax, capital gains tax, fringe benefits tax, GST and superannuation obligations
    • Identify avenues available to assist in debt management activities
    • Promote voluntary compliance and strengthen community confidence in the integrity of the taxation and superannuation systems
    • Ensure compliance with registration, lodgment, correct reporting and payment of taxation and superannuation obligations.

    A document describing this program has been prepared in consultation with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. A copy of this document is available at Data matching protocols

    The ATO complies with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s Guidelines on data matching in Australian government administration (2014) which includes standards for data matching to protect the privacy of individuals. A full copy of the ATO’s privacy policy can be accessed at Your rights.

     Legal matters

    Learn more about:

     Submission to the Privacy Commissioner

    Varying from the data destruction requirements

    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is seeking approval for the lifestyle assets data matching program to vary from one or more of the conditions detailed in Guideline 10 of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s Guidelines on data matching in Australian government administration (2014) (the Guidelines).

    We are seeking to retain data until 30 June 2019. We consider that a variation from the usual retention periods for this data matching program is in the public interest as:

    • The data is being collected and collated incrementally
    • An asset profile of taxpayers will be enhanced as more data becomes available
    • Destroying data sooner would inhibit our ability to form a holistic view of a taxpayer's asset position
    • Destruction of the data would inhibit the ATO’s ability to identify taxpayers who may be subject to administrative action and therefore result in loss of public revenue.

    We have determined that this variation will not affect the privacy of an individual.

    This program will be subject to an evaluation within three years which is consistent with the requirements of Guideline 9.

    Additional information justifying this variation is included in the tables below:

    • Table 1 – matters considered in accordance with Guideline 10.2 in seeking this variation
    • Table 2 – consistency with requirements of the other guidelines issued by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

    We do not require that this request be kept confidential (Guideline 10.6) and have no concerns if the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner place this information on its website.

    Table 1: Matters considered in seeking this variation to the Guidelines

    Matter considered

    Consideration

    10.2.1

    The effect of not abiding by the specified requirements of the Guidelines would have on individual privacy

    • Retaining data until 30 June 2019 will not increase the risks to an individual’s privacy. We have in place very secure processes for handling and storing data. Once acquired, all data will be stored on our secure computer systems where access is strictly controlled and full audit logs maintained.
    • Our staff operate under stringent confidentiality and privacy legislation that prohibits the improper access to or disclosure of protected information. These obligations are supported by significant penalties, including imprisonment. This substantially mitigates the risks of breaches of privacy.
     

    10.2.2

    The seriousness of the administrative or enforcement action that may flow from the data matching program

    • An extension of the retention period will not affect the seriousness of the administrative action that may flow from the match, but will assist in detecting non-compliance or taxation fraud.
    • Where we propose to take administrative action where a taxpayer may have reported incorrectly, the ATO will differentiate between those that try to do the right thing and those that set out to deliberately avoid their obligations. Documented procedures, including the Taxpayers’ Charter and compliance model will be followed to ensure fairness and consistency.
     

    10.2.3

    The effect that not abiding by the specified requirements of the Guidelines would have on the fairness of the program – including its effect on people’s ability to find out the basis for decisions that affect them and their ability to dispute those decisions

    • There will be no effect on the fairness of the program or the ability of taxpayers to find out the basis of decisions that impact them or their ability to dispute those decisions.
    • Before any administrative action is undertaken, taxpayers will be given at least 28 days to verify the accuracy of the information that has been derived from this data matching program.
    • Where administrative action is to be undertaken, we will adhere to the principles established in the Taxpayers’ Charter and compliance model to ensure an equitable and consistent approach is taken.
    • If a taxpayer does not agree with an assessment, they maintain the right to dispute the decision. They also have the legal right to appeal against those decisions through the courts and tribunals.
     

    10.2.4

    The effect that not abiding by the specified requirements of the Guidelines would have on the transparency and accountability of government operations

    • There will be no adverse effects on the transparency and accountability of government operations.
    • A program protocol is submitted to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and we will strictly adhere to the commitments in that document.
    • We will publish a notice with general information about the program in the Commonwealth government notices gazette before administrative action commences. We will also make a copy of the program protocol available on our website.
     

    10.2.5

    The effect that not abiding by the specified requirements of the Guidelines would have on compliance of the proposed program with the Australian Privacy Principles in the Privacy Act 1988

    • There will be no effect on compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles contained in Schedule 1 to the Privacy Act 1988 due to longer retention of the data. The data is collected is solely for the stated objectives established in the data matching program protocol.
     

    10.2.6

    The effect that abiding by all of the requirements of the Guidelines would have on the effectiveness of the proposed program

    • The effectiveness of the program would be reduced if the data retention period is not extended.
    • There would be a significant reduction in the our ability to detect incorrect reporting and taxation fraud without understanding and monitoring trends in the data collected.
    • The destruction of the data in accordance with the current guidelines would impact the integrity of the taxation system by:
      • limiting our ability to identify taxpayers who may be subject to administrative action
      • resulting in the loss of revenue.
       
     

    10.2.7

    Whether complying fully with the Guidelines could jeopardise or endanger the life or physical safety of information providers or could compromise the source of information provided in confidence

    • Not abiding by all the requirements of the Guidelines would not influence or affect the personal safety of any individual identified as part of the program or compromise the source of the information provided in confidence.
     

    10.2.8

    The effect that abiding by all the requirements of the Guidelines would have on public revenue – including tax revenue, personal benefit payments, debts to the Commonwealth and fraud against the Commonwealth

    • Not allowing the variation to the data retention period of the current program would cause us to miss potential breaches of taxation laws and subsequent non-payment of tax. This would result in the Commonwealth foregoing taxation revenue.
    • There are risks to the integrity of taxation system when people fail to comply with their obligations. Abiding by all of the requirements of the guidelines will reduce the effectiveness of proposed compliance activity. We would miss the opportunity to educate those taxpayers trying to do the right thing, and deterring those that are non-compliant from repeating the behaviour.
    • The effect of abiding by all of the requirements in the guidelines could negatively impact on both public revenue and public and government confidence in us. People not complying with their taxation obligations, including those operating outside the system, set a bad example to compliant taxpayers and may encourage their non-compliance. Maintaining community and government confidence in the taxation system is critical to our ongoing role.
     

    10.2.9

    Whether abiding by all of the requirements of the Guidelines would involve the release of a document that would be an exempt document under the Freedom of Information Act 1982

    • Only information relating to the taxpayer’s own affairs will be released upon receipt of a freedom of information request.
     

    10.2.10

    The legal authority for conducting the proposed program in a way inconsistent with the specified requirements of the Guidelines

    • There is no specific legislative power authorising the conduct of this program inconsistent with the Guidelines.
    • The Commissioner of Taxation, or his authorised representative, has formed the opinion that this data is required to enable us to effectively and efficiently carry out its legislated functions under the general powers of administration contained in:
      • Section 3A of the Taxation Administration Act 1953
      • Section 8 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936
      • Section 1-7 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997
      • Section 356-5 in Schedule 1 of the Taxation Administration Act 1953
       
    • The reasons for proposing to operate outside requirements of the Guidelines are detailed above.
     

    Table 2: Matters considered in seeking this variation to the Guidelines

    This section outlines where we are being consistent with the requirements of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s Guidelines on data matching in Australian government administration (2014).

    Paragraph/Guideline

    Action taken/To be taken

    Paragraph 6

    Status of the Guidelines

    We are committed to complying with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s Guidelines on data matching in Australian government administration (2014) by way of a chief executive instruction.

    Guideline 1

    Application of the Guide

    We apply the guidelines for all data matching programs where it is anticipated the program will include records of 5,000 or more individuals.

    We recognise that programs where there are multiple data sources but with common objectives and algorithms are treated as a single data matching program.

    Guideline 2

    Considerations before conducting a data matching program

    We conduct a cost-benefit analysis and consider alternate methods prior to proposing to conduct a data matching program.

    Further, we have rigorous governance arrangements, processes and system controls in place to protect the privacy of individuals.

    Guideline 3

    Prepare a program protocol

    Prior to conducting a data matching program, we prepare a data matching program protocol, submit this to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and make a copy publicly available on the ATO website.

    When elements of a data matching program change, the protocol is amended and a copy of the amended protocol provided to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and updated our website.

    Guideline 4

    Technical standards report

    Documentation is prepared and maintained so as to satisfy the requirements of a technical standards report.

    Guideline 5

    Notify the public

    We publish notification of our intention to undertake data matching program in the Commonwealth government gazette notices prior to the commencement of the program.

    This notice will include the following information as required by the Guidelines:

    • a brief description of the objectives of the data matching program
    • the matching agency and source entities involved in the data matching program
    • a description of the data contained in the data set involved in the data matching program
    • the categories of individuals about whom personal information is to be matched
    • the approximate number of individuals affected
    • reference to our privacy policy.

    Notification of the program is also published on our website and data providers are advised they can advertise their participation in the data matching program.

    Guideline 6

    Notify individuals of proposed administrative action

    Prior to taking any administrative as a result of the data matching programs individuals and other entities are given at least 28 days to verify the accuracy of the information provided to us by third parties.

    Guideline 7

    Destroy information that is no longer required

    We are seeking to vary from this requirement.

    Guideline 8

    Do not create new registers, datasets or databases

    We do not create new registers or databases using data obtained in the course of a data matching program.

    Guideline 9

    Data matching program evaluations

    Programs are regularly evaluated within 3 years of the commencement of the data matching program. These evaluations are provided to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

    Guideline 10

    Variations to guideline requirements

    When we intend to vary from the requirements of the Guidelines we seek the approval of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and provides documentation to support the variance.

    Guideline 11

    Data matching with entities other than agencies

    We undertake our own data matching programs. This function is not outsourced.

    Where data is obtained from an entity other than an individual, we usually do so using our formal information gathering powers. In these instances the entities are advised they are able to notify their clients of their participation in the data matching program.

    Guideline 12

    Data matching with exempt agencies

    We do not usually undertake data matching with agencies that are exempt from the operations of the Privacy Act 1988 under section 7 of that Act and that are subject to the operation of the Guidelines (i.e. any data matching undertaken with an exempt agency would usually be for fewer than 5,000 individuals).

    In the event a data matching activity would otherwise be subject to these Guidelines except for the exemption status, we still adhere to the principles of the Guidelines and prepare a program protocol, seeking to vary from the Guidelines by not publicly notifying of the program and publishing the protocol. We would still lodge a copy of the protocol with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

    Guideline 13

    Enable review by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

    We would not prevent the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner from reviewing its data matching activities and processes. These activities and processes have been reviewed by the Australian National Audit Office and Inspector-General of Taxation.

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     More information

    What we will do before we amend a return

    Where we detect a discrepancy that requires verification we will contact the taxpayer usually by phone, letter or email.

    Before any administrative action is taken, taxpayers will be provided with the opportunity to verify the accuracy of the information obtained by us. Taxpayers will be given at least 28 days to respond before administrative action is taken.

    For example, where discrepancy matching identifies that a taxpayer is not reporting all of their income, but in fact they are reporting the income under another entity, the taxpayer will be given the opportunity to clarify the situation.

    The data may also be used to ensure that taxpayers are complying with their other taxation and superannuation obligations, including registration requirements, lodgment obligations and payment responsibilities.

    In cases where taxpayers fail to comply with these obligations, after being reminded of them, escalation for prosecution action may be instigated in appropriate circumstances.

    Where a taxpayer has correctly met its obligations, the use of the data will reduce the likelihood of contact from us.

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    Our on-disclosure provisions

    Division 355 of Schedule 1 to the Taxation Administration Act 1953 sets out the other government agencies we can disclose taxpayer information to, and the circumstances we are permitted to make those disclosures. These include agencies responsible for:

    • state and territory revenue laws
    • payments of social welfare and health and safety programs for determining eligibility for certain types of benefits and rebates
    • overseeing superannuation funds, corporations and financial market operators to ensure compliance with prudential regulations
    • determining entitlement to rehabilitation and compensation payments
    • law enforcement activities to assist with specific types of investigations.

    Each request for information by other agencies will be assessed on its merits and must be for an admissible purpose allowed for by taxation laws.

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    How we undertake data matching

    We use sophisticated identity matching techniques to ensure we identify the correct taxpayer when we obtain data from third parties. This technique uses multiple details to obtain an identity match. For example, where a name, address and date of birth are available all items are used in the identity matching process. Very high confidence matches will occur where all fields are matched.

    Additional manual processes may be undertaken where high confidence identity matches do not occur, or a decision taken to destroy the data with no further action.

    Where administrative action is proposed, additional checks will take place to ensure the correct taxpayer has been identified. The taxpayers will be provided with the opportunity to verify the accuracy of the information before any administrative action is taken.

    Data analysts use various models and techniques to detect potential discrepancies, such as under-reported income or over-reported deductions. Higher risk discrepancy matches will be loaded to our case management system and allocated to compliance staff for actioning.

    Lower risk discrepancy matches will be further analysed and a decision made to take some form of compliance or educational activity, or to destroy the data. In accordance with Guideline 7, where a decision is made not to take further action, the information that has been collected will be destroyed within 90 days of the decision not to take further action.

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    How we protect your personal information

    Our staff are subject to the strict confidentiality and privacy provisions contained in Division 355 of Schedule 1 to the Taxation Administration Act 1953 and include terms of imprisonment in cases of serious contravention of these provisions.

    All ATO computer systems are strictly controlled, 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 utilise our secure internet-based data transfer facility to obtain the data from source agencies.

    Where this is not possible, data providers will be requested to provide copies of the data on a CD, DVD or USB device encrypted to a standard that satisfies Australian government requirements. The magnetic media device will be password protected, with the password provided under separate cover to us.

    Where the data is not collected by an authorised ATO officer, an approved courier service will be used to collect the data. In remote locations not serviced by an approved courier service, the Australia Post ‘Express Post Platinum’ will be used (this provides both tracking and signature for delivery features).

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    Our quality assurance framework

    Quality assurance processes are integrated into our processes and computer systems and are applied throughout the data matching cycle.

    These assurance processes include:

    • registering the intention to undertake a data matching program on an internal register
    • obtaining approval from the data matching gatekeeper and relevant Senior Executive Service (SES) officers prior to any activity being undertaken
    • conducting program pilots or obtaining sample data to ensure the data matching program will achieve its objectives prior to full data sets being obtained
    • notifying the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner of our intention to undertake the data matching program and request permission to vary from the data matching guidelines (where applicable)
    • maintaining access management logs recording details of who has access to the data, why access is required and how it will be used
    • processes embedded into compliance activities, such as:
      • review of risk assessments, taxpayer profiles and case plans by senior officers prior to client contact
      • ongoing reviews of cases by subject matter technical experts at key points during the life cycle of a case
      • regular independent panel reviews of samples of case work to provide assurance of the accuracy and consistency of case work.
       

    These processes ensure data is collected and used in accordance with our data management policies and principles, and complies with the Information Commissioner's data matching guidelines.

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    Why we undertake data matching

    We have considered a range of alternatives to this data matching program to ensure entities are complying with their taxation and superannuation obligations. Relying only on data already held by the ATO is of limited value for the following reasons:

    • we only receive data from taxpayers that are correctly registered and meeting their lodgment obligations
    • we have no other data to cross-reference to ensure taxpayers are reporting their obligations correctly other than by directly contacting every taxpayer.

    This data matching program will allow us to identify taxpayers who are not fully complying with their obligations, as well as those that may be operating outside the taxation and superannuation systems. It will also reduce the likelihood of the ATO unnecessarily contacting taxpayers who appear to be complying with their taxation obligations.

    Data matching is an effective method of examining records of thousands of taxpayers to ensure compliance with lodgment and reporting obligations that would otherwise be a resource intensive exercise.

    Data matching also assists us in effectively promoting voluntary compliance by notifying the public of areas and activities under scrutiny.

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    Costs and benefits of data matching

    Costs

    There are some incidental costs to us in the conduct of this data matching program, but these will be more than offset by the total revenue protected. These costs include:

    • data analyst resources to identify potential instances of non-compliance
    • compliance resources to manage casework and educational activities
    • governance resources to ensure that the Guidelines and Privacy Act are complied with, and quality assurance work to ensure the rigour of the work undertaken by analysts and compliance staff
    • storage of the data.

    Benefits

    Benefits from conducting this data matching programs include:

    • maintaining community confidence in both the taxation and superannuation systems by creating a level playing field, as well as maintaining community confidence in the ATO’s capacity to fairly administer those systems
    • integrity of the taxation and superannuation systems – there are inherent risks in taxpayers not complying with their obligations, including those that deliberately abuse these systems – this program will assist the ATO in detecting, dealing with and deterring those that are not meeting their obligations
    • enabling enforcement activity and recovery of taxation revenue – without undertaking this data matching program and subsequent compliance activity there are no assurances that a wider risk to revenue does not exist.

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    Making a privacy complaint

    If a taxpayer is not satisfied with how we have collected, held, used or disclosed its personal information, they can make a formal complaint by:

    • using the online complaints form at Complaints
    • phoning our complaints line on 1800 199 010
    • phoning the National Relay Service on 13 36 77 (if you have a hearing, speech or communication impairment)
    • sending us a free fax on 1800 060 063
    • writing to us at:

    ATO Complaints 
      PO Box 1271
    ALBURY NSW 2640

    If a taxpayer is not satisfied with the outcome of the privacy complaint, they can contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. More details on the process can be found on the OAIC website at How do I make a privacy complaint?External Link

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    Our lawful role

    The Commissioner of Taxation has responsibility for ensuring taxpayers meet their taxation and superannuation obligations. Compliance with these obligations is a matter we take seriously and failure to address non-compliant behaviour has the potential to undermine community confidence in the integrity of the taxation and superannuation systems and our capacity to administer those systems.

    Our data matching program is one of the strategies used to identity and deal with non-compliant behaviour. Data matching programs also provide a degree of assurance that taxpayers are meeting their obligations.

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    Our legal authority to undertake a data matching program

    ATO legislation

    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 obligate the data providers to furnish the information requested. We will use the information for taxation 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 1988 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 that the use of the information is reasonably necessary for our enforcement related activities.

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      Last modified: 15 Feb 2016QC 47951