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  • Data matching

    Ensure your clients provide all their income when lodging their tax return early as we match it with third-party data.

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    Third-party data sources

    We receive information from third-party sources that we use for a range of activities, including data matching. This helps taxpayers get their tax returns right.

    We receive information from a variety of third-party sources, including:

    • employers
    • financial institutions
    • companies
    • private health funds
    • businesses
    • government agencies.

    We use this information for data matching against the amounts taxpayers report in their tax returns.

    Matching data ensures that taxpayers declare all their income, offsets and exemptions correctly. It helps to reduce errors and prevent delays in processing returns.

    Using pre-filled and third-party data

    Much of the matched data is pre-filled in taxpayer returns. Pre-filled data is available from early July, with most data finalised by the end of July. Some data is received later, like trust distributions.

    If you need to query an amount that has been pre-filled, you can contact the ATO.

    If you change the pre-filled information when you lodge the tax return, we may adjust it if we have a high level of confidence in the data we've received.

    In some instances, we may contact you to ask why you changed the pre-filled data. You will need to provide sufficient evidence to support your change, or we may adjust your client's tax return to align with the third-party data.

    If you disagree with the decision we've made, you can request a review by contacting the ATO or alternatively lodge an objection.

    In 2021–22 we enhanced pre-filling bank interest. A 'certainty indicator' now appears where the ATO has a high level of confidence your client received the bank interest as supplied by their financial institution. If the interest income does not belong to your client, you are able to adjust the amount, but a reason must be entered.

    Last year we adjusted over 400,000 individual tax returns before issuing tax assessments. We used third-party data that was available through your pre-fill service yet was omitted from the clients' tax returns.

    We also corrected tax returns for around 180,000 individual taxpayers with discrepancies after their tax assessment issued by validating information using third-party sources.

    What to include in tax returns

    Take extra care when preparing your clients' tax returns at the start of the financial year, ideally once their pre-filled data has been completed. Remind your clients they need to provide all the necessary information, including income or tax not already pre-filled (for example foreign income or partnership or trust income).

    Some government payments are taxable but not pre-filled, such as pandemic leave and natural disaster payments. These will need to be added manually.

    Clients with a spouse will need to provide a reasonable estimate of their income. This will enable an accurate assessment of their private health insurance rebate and any Medicare levy surcharge to be determined.

    Expanding our data matching

    With improved data available from more sources, we are expanding our data matching to include areas such as:

    • crypto asset transactions
    • sharing economy – accommodation providers
    • property management reports
    • novated lease vehicle information.
    Last modified: 13 Jun 2023QC 45703