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  • Confidentiality and safeguarding taxpayer information

    External requirements

    Australia’s bilateral agreements and domestic laws ensure the secrecy for information sent to or received from other jurisdictions. They also limit the disclosure of such information by any person or jurisdiction that has contact with the information.

    Exchanged information may only be given to the person or entity concerned with the exchange. On occasion the information may also be disclosed in public court proceedings or in judicial decisions. Australia’s current practice is to advise the other treaty partner before disclosing information to the taxpayer concerned.

    When negotiating international agreements to exchange information, Australia ensures that partner jurisdictions have adequate confidentiality and data safeguards in place to protect taxpayer information. In addition, most jurisdictions, including Australia, undergo international peer reviews of their EOI processes and confidentiality safeguards.

    Internal measures

    To ensure information received is treated in a proper manner, all exchange of information tasks are performed by a centralised specialist EOI unit which is well informed of the confidentiality principles involved.

    The EOI unit undertakes additional measures to limit access to the information obtained through an international EOI request. For example, a cover sheet is applied to all information received from treaty partners. This alerts anyone handling the information that it has been obtained under a treaty and disclosure or use of the information is restricted.

    Additionally, all information received or sent internationally under a treaty is done so using an electronic encryption algorithm or sent via registered post.

    See also:

    More information

    More information regarding information exchange measures or concerns can be sent directly to the relevant teams in the ATO:

    For enquiries regarding information provided to us by one of our treaty partners, the taxpayer is encouraged to contact the relevant authority in the other jurisdiction.

    See also:

    Last modified: 29 Sep 2017QC 53414