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Why we undertake data matching

Learn why we have data-matching protocols and the costs and benefits of data matching.

Last updated 8 June 2023

Meeting our accountability

To effectively administer the tax and superannuation systems, we are required in accordance with the law to collect and analyse information concerning the financial affairs of taxpayers and other participants in the Australian economy.

In addition to our administrator responsibilities, the Public Service Act 1999External Link (PS Act) requires each agency head to ensure their agency complies with legislative and whole-of-government requirements.

Agency heads are required to ensure proper use and management of public resources as per the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013External Link (PGPA Act).

We consider and undertake a range of alternatives to data matching to ensure entities are complying with their tax and superannuation obligations. Relying only on data that we already hold is of limited value for the following reasons:

  • The tax system operates on willing participation, so our data is derived from taxpayers that are correctly registered and meeting their lodgment obligations.
  • The only other way of ensuring that taxpayers are reporting their obligations correctly would be to contact every taxpayer directly.

Uses of data matching

Data matching allows us to cross-reference suitable external data to identify taxpayers who may not be in full compliance with their obligations, as well as those that may be operating outside the tax and superannuation systems. It also reduces the likelihood of unnecessarily contacting taxpayers who are complying with their tax obligations.

Data matching is an effective method of examining the records of thousands of taxpayers. We do this to ensure compliance with lodgment and reporting obligations. This would otherwise be a resource-intensive exercise.

Data matching also assists us to effectively promote voluntary compliance by notifying the public of risk areas and activities under scrutiny.

Costs and benefits analysis

The costs of our data matching activities are more than offset by the benefits.


The use of data is increasingly common across government agencies and the private sector. Data, data usage, computer power and storage continue to grow, which increases the benefits from data matching.

Data matching and the insights it provides help us:

  • deliver tailored products and services, which underpins our culture of service
  • make it easier for taxpayers and agents by providing tailored messages in our online services
  • enable early intervention activities, as our goal is prevention rather than correction
  • maintain community confidence in our ability to administer the tax and superannuation systems because we can
    • make better, faster and holistically smarter decisions with measurable results to deliver a level playing field for all
    • solve problems and shape what we do for the community
    • advise government and deliver outcomes with agility.
  • maintain the integrity of the tax and superannuation systems by
    • providing education to assist taxpayers to do the right thing
    • deterring behaviours so taxpayers adhere to their obligations
    • detecting taxpayers who are not complying with their obligations, targeting those that continue to deliberately abuse the tax and superannuation systems
    • enabling enforcement activity and recovery of tax revenue
    • directing compliance activities to assure that wider risks to revenue do not exist.


There are some incidental costs to us in the conduct of data-matching programs, but these are more than offset by the total revenue protected. These costs include:

  • data analyst resources to identify potential instances of non-compliance
  • compliance resources to manage casework and educational activities
  • governance resources to ensure compliance with the guidelines and Privacy Act
  • quality assurance processes to ensure the rigour of the work undertaken by analysts and compliance staff
  • storage of the data.