Tax Alert // Motor vehicle data matching program

The ATO will obtain information from the State and Territory motor vehicle registration authorities on motor vehicles bought or sold with a purchase price of $10,000 or more. The information will cover the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 income years. The ATO estimates that it will obtain over 2 million records for each of these years, and this information will allow them to identify approximately 2.8 million individuals who may have been involved in multiple transactions.

The aim is to identify specific tax risks including:

  • ensuring taxpayers who buy and sell motor vehicles meet their income tax and superannuation obligations
  • ensuring taxpayers buying and selling motor vehicles meet their GST reporting and payment obligations
  • use the motor vehicle purchaser’s data as an indicator of risk, along with other data holdings, to identify taxpayers that have purchased vehicles with values that do not match their reported income
  • identify cases for investigation of taxpayers of interest, such as sellers, licensed dealers, fleet managers, leasing companies or representatives of these taxpayers to determine if the use of interposed ownership is used to conceal accumulation of wealth
  • promote compliance and community confidence in the integrity of the tax system by publicising how data matching programs protect the public revenue

Bentleys comment – the ATO continues to use its wide data gathering powers to build up a picture of high risk taxpayers wealth and assets. We can expect to continue to see more enquiries being opened into taxpayers affairs as a result of this and other data matched information – see for example the Lifestyle Assets data matching program we publicised in July 2019.