The ATO conducts matching exercises within ATO systems to detect cases where:
individuals are receiving more than one payment simultaneously;
a lesser entitlement or no entitlement exists;
a greater entitlement exists;
income details of assistance agency payments are understated in tax returns.
Data Matching Agency
The ATO provides income information derived from tax returns to the Data-Matching Agency (DMA) – a separate agency within Centrelink – to determine the eligibility criteria for benefits, and to help detect fraud within the welfare system.
Agencies request specific data; where the ATO have then identified the client from data provided, the following data is returned to the DMA:
date of most recent taxation assessment
amount of the spouse tax offset
surname and any other name details of the spouse where a spouse offset has been claimed
surname and any other name details
an indicator if the TFN is compromised
Weekly – TFN declarations are notified to Centrelink, to ensure benefits are not paid after employment has commenced. Around 12% of these are found to be Centrelink clients.
Daily – income details for the purpose of administering family assistance entitlements and payment reconciliation and immediate recovery of outstanding debts to the Commonwealth.
Child Support Registrar
The Child Support Registrar has access to taxpayer income details (employment and investment income) via electronic transfer and direct access, for the purpose of assessing the amount of individuals' child support payments, and for garnishee action where appropriate.
Department of Home Affairs
Address information for individuals who have been classified as ‘illegal non-citizens’ are provided to assist in locating them.
Credit and Debit Cards
The ATO obtains data from banks and financial institutions to identify the total credit and debit card payments received by Australian businesses. This is detailed in the credit and debit cards data-matching protocol. From 1 July 2017, these institutions automatically report this information each year.
Specialised Payment Systems/Gateways
The ATO obtains data on electronic payments made through specialised payment systems to Australian businesses. This data is analysed in conjunction with data collected through their credit and debit card data-matching program.
This is matched to disclosed income and expenditure to determine correct GST and income tax.