Flashy cars, low income: ATO eyes tax-dodging red flag

Black economy participants and tax dodgers driving luxury cars will continue to come under ATO scrutiny as it looks to extend its motor vehicle data-matching program for a further three years.

The extension of the data-matching program will see the ATO continue to collect records from eight state and territory motor vehicle registries for the 2019–20, 2020–21 and 2021–22 financial years.

Registry records for around 1.5 million individuals are expected to be collected each year for any newly registered or transferred vehicles with a purchase price or market value of $10,000 or more.

According to the ATO, the records will help it “identify higher-risk taxpayers with outstanding lodgements and those with undeclared income whose asset holdings may not be proportionate to their declared financial position”.

To support its focus on the black economy, the Tax Office will also use the data as “an indicator of risk, along with other data holdings, to identify taxpayers that have purchased vehicles with values that are not commensurate with the income they have reported”.

The records will also help inform the ATO whether taxpayers that buy and sell motor vehicles are meeting their tax and super obligations, and if taxpayers are compliant with GST, fringe benefits tax, luxury car tax, fuel schemes and income tax obligations.

The ATO will also use records to scrutinise sellers, licensed dealers, fleet managers, leasing companies or representatives of these taxpayers to determine if the use of interposed proxy ownership has concealed the real accumulation of wealth.

Into its 16th year, the data-matching program will acquire a wide range of transaction details that include the vehicle make and model, engine capacity, vehicle identification number and garage address.

Details of individuals involved in the transaction, including their name, address, date of birth and ABN, will also be collected.

Data from the program will be retained for five years.

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