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Tax Office Expands Compliance Work

Employers who fail to meet their tax obligations, medium-sized businesses whose tax performance is out of line with their economic performance, and self-managed super funds are among those identified for increased attention from the Tax Office this year.

Tax Commissioner Michael Carmody, in a speech recently, said the latest Compliance Program builds on the work they have done previously as well as identifying some particular areas of concern where they will be stepping up their activities.

"While the vast majority of people do the right thing, we will continue to target those who fail to meet their obligations, as well as identifying areas of emerging risk," Mr Carmody said.

"This year we are increasing our focus on employers who fail to meet obligations such as pay as you go withholding, superannuation guarantee payments for their employees, and fringe benefits tax."

"We will investigate all cases where employees tell us their employer is not making superannuation payments on their behalf."

Large businesses and high wealth individuals will continue to be the subject of intensive risk reviews.

"Of the $6.4 billion raised in liabilities from our compliance work last year, more than half of this was raised from large businesses and high wealth individuals, and we will continue our focus on these groups this year."

Medium-sized businesses - those with turnovers of $50 million or more - will also face increased scrutiny.

"We have identified some medium-sized businesses who have declared profits over a number of years but appear to have paid little or no income tax, and we will be taking a closer look at this behaviour."

Capital gains tax and rental deductions have also been identified as major issues for individuals in the property market.

"We are improving our education products to help people understand capital gains tax and rental deductions while at the same time increasing our audit activity of high-risk refunds in this area."

Last year a significant number of people lodged high levels of work-related expenses through their tax agent.

"While we continue to focus on work-related expenses generally, we will also increase our focus on the small but significant number of tax agents whose clients are at a high risk of over-claiming."

This is the third year the Tax Office has published the Compliance Program. This year the document includes a comparison of the 2003/04 results with the previous year.

"We want to let people know the risks to our revenue system and what we are doing to address them. By telling people what will attract our attention I hope to influence the decisions people make when they set out to meet their tax obligations," Mr Carmody said.

To help ensure you are fully compliant, please be certain to keep your Client Manager informed of all your financial affairs.

Copyright ATO Media Release, 17 August 2004 http://www.ato.gov.au/corporate/content.asp?doc=/content/mr2004061.htm

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