• How we detect and deal with those who don't do the right thing

    We use various sources of information and we undertake a range of compliance activities to detect and deal with people or organisations not meeting their tax and super obligations.

    We also receive information about tax avoidance from the community. If you know of someone who is not doing the right thing you can tell us about it here and we will investigate.

    Activities we undertake to detect those who don’t do the right thing include:

    • matching information given to us by third parties about money you receive from wages, shares, sale of property and government payments against the information you have included in your tax return
    • a program of verification checks, both before and after refund payments are made, to identify incorrect and fraudulent refunds
    • clarifying our view to address emerging economies, particularly in relation to online services and the sharing economy and tax
    • using robust analytical models to compare your income and deduction claims to individuals or businesses in similar circumstances. We may ask you to clarify when income and claim patterns are outside of our expectations.

    Activities we undertake to deal with those who don’t do the right thing include:

    • imposing penalties and charging you interest if you don’t fully meet your responsibilities. If you have made an honest mistake we will take this into account, however if you deliberately try to avoid tax we will take much firmer action (this can include prosecution). If you do find that you have made an error you should tell us as soon as you can — see how to correct a mistake
    • taking firmer action, including using the full force of the law, for those who abuse the tax and super systems. See serious tax crime prosecution results in 2014-15 for examples.

    Follow the links below for specific information for:

    See also:


    For individual taxpayer our activities also include:

    • writing to you to ask you to review your reported income and deductions
    • undertaking a review or audit where you have not told us about income that you have earned, or it seems that you may have incorrectly claimed deductions.

    Small businesses

    For small businesses our activities also include:

    • investigating when employees notify us they may not have received their full super guarantee entitlements from their employer, as well as using our own data to identify employers who are likely to not be meeting their super guarantee obligations (see our compliance approach for more detail.)

    Privately owned and wealthy groups

    For privately owned and wealthy groups our activities also include:

    • applying a risk differentiation framework to determine the level of our interactions with you, based upon our understanding of your risk position, circumstances, choices and behaviours.
    • contacting you in situations where we identify a potential issue with your tax affairs to resolve or better understand the matter. If the matter is not resolved and requires further examination we will generally conduct a review or an audit.
    • deeper investigations on particular matters of potential concern. For example, we have established a Trusts Taskforce to investigate aggressive tax avoidance and evasion using trusts.

    Publicly listed businesses

    For publicly listed businesses our activities also include:

    • applying a risk differentiation framework to determine the level of our interactions with you based upon our understanding of your risk position, circumstances, choices and behaviours.

    Not-for-profit organisations

    For not-for-profit organisations our activities also include:

    • dealing with areas of concern including where the organisation has incorrectly accessed tax concessions, such as providing assistance to help them get things right or where appropriate, revoking entitlements to access tax concessions.

    Super funds

    For super funds our activities also include:

    • reviewing contraventions reported as a result of annual independent audits of SMSFs by approved SMSF auditors and risks identified from our data holdings. We use a risk differentiated approach to deal with non-compliance of SMSFs based on the overall risk posed by a fund.
    • monitoring the compliance of approved SMSF auditors and, if we identify a failure to adequately and properly perform their duties, referring them to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for investigation
    • identifying and pursuing intermediaries who seek to exploit vulnerabilities in the system, including detecting fraud and/or illegal early release of super.

    Large super funds generally try to do the right thing, however upon occasion we may identify a significant issue. In this situation, we may:

    • provide a diagnostic report and work with administrators and funds to interpret the results
    • encourage self-correction using voluntary disclosures.

    Tax professionals

    For tax professionals our activities also include:

    • ongoing practitioner compliance programs focused on:
      • practice management, including lodging clients’ returns by lodgement program due dates
      • return preparation processes, including omission of income and refund fraud
      • information security
      • promotion of tax avoidance schemes
    • identifying and dealing with unregistered tax and super professionals
    • where appropriate we will undertake audit action, civil litigation, impose interest and penalties, and prosecution.
    Last modified: 29 Oct 2015QC 44380