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ATO to begin data matching with the Department of Immigration to ensure legal compliance

Written By Michael Walker
Fri, Aug 21, 2015
Michael Walker

In a recent announcement the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has stated that it will attain the details of Australian visa holders, their sponsors, and migration agents from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

This initiative comes after a recent DIBP analysis revealed that there is an elevated risk relating to non-compliance within the visa holding population. Based on the identified risks the ATO intends to perform analysis on all current and future data until June 2017 in order to gain a better understanding of the issues.

The records will be largely electronically matched, with sections of ATO data holdings, to identify non-compliance in areas of visa registration, lodgement and payment obligations under taxation law.

Beyond ensuring that taxpayers are meeting their obligations under the law, the analysis also seeks to identify the overall level of compliance of visa holders, while testing the strengths of current risk detection models. Similarly the ATO hopes to improve the integrity of their data, identify new and potential methods of fraud and importantly develop administrative strategies to improve voluntary compliance.

It should be noted that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has sought to strengthen cross matching checks with the ATO for a number of years.  However, these new initiatives seek to ratchet up the audit process currently conducted by both these branches of the Commonwealth Government of Australia.  Accordingly, it is particularly important for Australian Employers, who may sponsor or hire visa holders, to ensure that they are meeting their Tax and Immigration Law obligations.  To ensure your compliance in these areas requires regular checks on the immigration status of any visa holder, whom you may employ.

A document describing this program in full has been prepared by the ATO and is available here: https://www.ato.gov.au/General/Gen/DIBP-Visa-Holders-Data-Matching-Program/

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