ATO focuses on lifestyle assets

The Tax Office has now extended its lifestyle asset data matching program for the financial years 2020–21 to 2022–23, allowing it to obtain insurance policy information for certain asset classes.

Motor vehicles with a value of $65,000 and above will be included in the ATO data collection scope, as well as ships over $100,000, thoroughbred horses over $65,000, fine arts over $100,000 per item, and aircraft over $150,000.

The ATO will obtain data from 25 insurance providers, with agents expecting 300,000 individuals to be identified each year.

The data matching program, which has been in place since 2016, will provide the ATO with oversight of individuals who incorrectly declare insufficient income on their tax returns despite accumulating assets.

Taxpayers who dispose of assets and do not declare income and capital gains on the disposal will also be identified.

According to the ATO, it will also help identify taxpayers who purchase assets for personal use through their businesses or related entities and claim unauthorized GST credits, or those who use those assets for the personal enjoyment of associates or employees. which may give rise to an additional benefit tax liability.

The program will also be used to identify SMSFs that may acquire assets but apply them to the benefit of the trustee or beneficiary.

Where an individual has been identified for non-compliance with their tax obligations, the ATO said it would implement “appropriate treatment recommendations”, but noted that it would not result in “automated creation of compliance activities”.

“Where a taxpayer fulfills his obligations properly, the use of the data will reduce the possibility of contact from us,” the ATO said.

“In cases where taxpayers fail to comply with this obligation even after being asked and reminded, escalation for prosecution action can be initiated.”

The data collected by the ATO will be retained for five years.

The extension of the lifestyle asset data matching program comes as the ATO increasingly relies on similar programs — including its work on motor vehicles and cryptocurrencies — to ensure taxpayers meet their tax and super obligations.

ATO focuses on lifestyle assets

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Last Updated: 20 July 2021

Published: July 20, 2021

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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian is editor of Accountants Daily, the premier source of breaking news, analysis and insights for Australian accounting professionals.

Prior to joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for various national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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