Gathering electronic information
When gathering electronic information, we will work with you to help ensure the information is given to us in an efficient and effective way. We prefer you to give us electronic information if possible. The benefits of providing copies of electronic information include:
- you may save time and money by not having to copy or print the documents
- electronic information is likely to be easier and less costly to copy and send
- our activities are likely to be completed in a shorter timeframe – for example, we can analyse the information by using computer-assisted verification.
If your information is to be given to us electronically, we will usually arrange a meeting with you to discuss:
- your accounting systems
- the format and extent of the electronic records you keep
- any documentation you have that may assist in our analysis – for example, your chart of accounts, reference tables or data dictionary.
Your tax adviser and information technology specialists can attend this meeting if you wish.
Under our notice and access powers, documents include anything from which sounds, images or writings can be reproduced, with or without the aid of anything else. This means we can seek information stored electronically, such as data on thumb drives and computer hard drives.
(For the full definition of a document, see section 2B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.)
We will consider your costs during the planning of our access visit and throughout our information-collection activities. However, you are not entitled to reimbursement for those costs incurred in giving us access or complying with a formal notice.
Electronic information may be stored with a third party, including data stored on a cloud. Cloud computing entrusts a user's data, software and computation with a remote service provider via the internet from any location. An email account or file storage arrangement are examples of cloud computing.
Where the documents stored on a cloud are immediately accessible to you, we may use our notice or access powers to obtain them. We may also seek the information under a double tax agreement.
We may send you a formal notice under section 353-10 of Schedule 1 to the TAA 1953 or section 264A of the ITAA 1936.
A section 353-10 notice can be sent to any person who has control of the documents in question, whether or not they have custody. The notice to produce the relevant documents can be issued to you or to a third party who has custody of the documents.
If you fail to respond to a section 264A notice, you may not be able to produce the offshore documents as evidence in a legal dispute with us regarding your income tax assessment, unless we consent.