Compliance in focus 2013

16 July 2013

Media release 2013/17

Profit shifting, tax crime and misuse of trusts are key areas of focus for the ATO this year while providing more contemporary services to help people with their tax and super affairs.

The ATO today released its Compliance in focus program, to inform the community of key risks and issues in Australia’s tax and superannuation systems and how the ATO will address them.

“We know most Australians do the right thing and our focus is on helping people comply,” Second Commissioner Bruce Quigley said.

“This year, we have a range of new contemporary services for individuals and businesses, including phone apps and interactive online help and support.

“However, we take firm action against people who cheat the system. Compliance in focus sets out what’s attracting our attention and how we intend to deal with it.”

Mr Quigley said the community, government and the ATO were concerned about multinational businesses using complex structures to shift profits to low tax jurisdictions.

“As a result we will be undertaking a greater number of risk reviews and audits than ever before,” Mr Quigley said.

The ATO will continue to work closely with other tax jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies to combat tax crime in Australia and internationally.

“Tax crime is committed by a small minority, but affects the whole community through lost revenue,” Mr Quigley said.

“We are also getting results through close cooperation with other international tax agencies, as seen recently with our work with the US and UK on tax haven data,” Mr Quigley said.

"With countries working together and sharing data, the world is becoming a smaller place and it is getting very hard to hide.”

Trusts will also come under scrutiny with the ATO setting up a Trust Taskforce to work with other agencies to tackle the misuse of trusts.

“We will work with other agencies where necessary to ensure the full force of the law is used against those involved in schemes aimed at avoiding or evading tax obligations,” Mr Quigley said.

Data matching is a key activity the ATO undertakes to identify tax avoidance.

“Each year we improve our systems and expand the range of data and information we can match against claims. This year we expect to match over 640 million transactions,” Mr Quigley said.

“Our data matching program helps us uncover people understating or omitting income. We also automatically provide some of the data in tax returns as part of our pre-filling service to help people get their tax right.”

Our compliance activities cover the full spectrum, from supporting and educating those willing to do the right thing to using the full force of the law on those who deliberately choose to avoid their obligations.

For more information, visit Compliance in focus 2013 highlights.

For further enquiries from members of the media: 02 6216 1901 or 0401 147 127

Last modified: 15 Jul 2013QC 35764