The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has ramped up its efforts to hunt down foreign buyers of Australian real estate, with the employment of 50 compliance officers who will investigate potential breaches of the law by cross checking the records of approximately 11 million people to find illegal owners.
The ATO is responsible for overseeing foreign property investment and is accessing 32 years’ worth of data from Revenue and Land Titles Offices from all states from 1985 to 2017 relating to property sales, sub-divisions, land transfers and valuations.
Rental bond agencies in each state will also be required to provide details of leased properties during that period including information about rental payments, length of lease, bond amount and landlord details.
The ATO have said that they will investigate data to assist in the screening of foreign resident real estate applications and compliance activity and expect to review an estimated 31 million records for each year.
The purpose of this data matching program is to ensure that taxpayers are correctly meeting their obligations in regard to their dealings with real property; including registration, lodgement, reporting and payment.
The ATO’s objectives include:
- Identify risks and trends of non-compliance
- Gain an understanding of risks and issues
- Understand compliance strategies to minimise future risk to revenue
- Promote voluntary compliance
- Strengthen community confidence in the integrity of the tax system by publicising the outcomes of the data matching program
If you have any risks in this area, or want to clarify anything in this regard, feel free to contact your client manager.