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

    Data elements collected

    Data will be collected for participants (drivers) in the ride sourcing market.

    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:

    Client identification details - individuals

    • driver identifier
    • Australian Business Number (ABN)
    • driver name
    • birth date
    • mobile phone number
    • email address
    • address

    Transaction details

    • bank account details
    • aggregated payment details (gross fares, net amount paid to driver, and all other income to which Goods and Services Tax may or may not apply to) of all payments received in the relevant period.

    Number of records

    The number of individuals affected by this data collection is expected to be approximately 250,000 individuals each financial year.

    Data quality

    We anticipate that the data quality will be of a high standard based on our prior ride sourcing data-matching program.

    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 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
    • completeness
    • consistency
    • currency
    • precision
    • privacy
    • reasonableness
    • referential integrity
    • timeliness
    • uniqueness
    • validity.

    Data retention

    The collection of data under this program includes all financial years from 2015–16 to 2021–22. The data had previously been collected progressively on a quarterly basis of each financial year, however, under the rationalisation process we have moved to a bi-annual collection for the next three years of data acquisition.

    Due to the number of data providers, we collect data progressively. 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.

    The ATO was granted exemption by the Privacy Commissioner to retain the data for 3 years in 2015 and 2017. The total retention period was for 3 years from the receipt of all verified data files from the data providers. The exemption request was required to satisfy the National Archives of Australia's General Disposal Authority 24 (GDA24) – Records relating to data matching exercises. GDA24 has now been revoked.

    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.

    Going forward we will retain each financial year’s data for five years from receipt of the final instalment of verified data files from the data providers. The data is required for this period for the protection of public revenue as:

    • retaining data for five years enables us to support our general compliance approach of reviewing an assessment within the standard period of review, which also aligns with the requirement for taxpayers to keep their records
    • 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
    • the data is also used in multiple risk models, including models that establish retrospective profiles over a multiple years aligned with period of review.

    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:

      Last modified: 20 Mar 2020QC 61837