Can someone please, please, please tell me why there are always stories in the press about our glorious tax office going on compliance rampages and ‘discovering’ whole heaps of people who haven’t put in a tax return? Crikey reports as follows:
Data matching has become a favoured audit tool for tax gumshoes. Previous success in matching external data to ATO information with professional industry groups produced bumper harvests for consolidated revenue. The Legal Profession project conducted by the ATO in 2004 uncovered a rat’s nest of tax impropriety including barristers and solicitors not lodging tax returns (in some cases for many years), 116 barristers being in debt to the ATO for $65m while debt for solicitors nationally is around $180m, scores of barristers turning to bankruptcy to avoid paying tax.
Can someone please tell me why the ATO can’t data match it’s own data? Here’s an idea. The ATO could punch the relevant commands into its database and ask it to spit out the names of people who filed returns in the second last financial year who haven’t sent in a return for the next financial year. If their system won’t do this, perhaps they could consult a company (or a small club) that manages subscriptions and find out how they discover that people haven’t renewed their subscription. Perhaps they could use MYOB.