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11 Apr 2019 Latest ATO news

What attracts the ATO’s attention?

Find out what behaviours and characteristics attract the ATO’s attention here. 

Navigating Online services for agents

Learn how to make your way around the new Online system and customise it to suit your needs. Find out more here. 

Ban on electronic sales suppression tools

From 4 October 2018, the government has banned activities involving electronic sales suppression tools (ESSTs) for people and businesses that have Australian tax obligations. You may be liable for criminal and administrative penalties if you:

  • produce, supply, possess or use an ESST
  • knowingly assist others to produce, supply, possess or use an ESST
  • promote the use of an ESST.

More information can be found here. 

Director Identification Number Reference Group

The Director Identification Number Reference Group was established to assist in the development of implementation options for the DIN proposal for Government.

Find out more here. 

Privately owned and wealthy groups

The ATO views privately owned and wealthy groups as:

  • companies and their associated subsidiaries (often referred to as economic groups) that have an annual turnover of greater than $10 million and are not public groups or foreign-owned;
  • Australian resident individuals who, together with their business associates, control net wealth over $5 million.

The ATO’s approach is to link all entities that are under the control of an individual and their associates. By control, the ATO means effective control where an individual has the primary decision-making role in the group.

Find out more here. 

How the ATO identifies wealthy individuals and their businesses

Wealthy individuals are resident individuals who, together with their business associates, control net wealth of $5 million or more.

The ATO uses sophisticated data matching and analytic models, drawing on tax returns and referrals from other government agencies or the community, to identify wealthy individuals and link them to associated businesses.

Find out more here. 

Early intervention program

The ATO has been provided with funding under the Black Economy program to better understand the drivers behind tax agent behaviour. These insights will help tailor strategies for agents and encourage willing participation in the tax and super systems.

The early intervention program works by leveraging the full scope of the ATO’s data and analytics. The ATO takes a holistic approach to identifying tax agents at risk. These may be agents who:

  • show partial compliance in certain areas
  • have let their internal quality controls slip or they were never present
  • may lack capability in one or more areas
  • may display opportunistic behaviours

Find our more here. 

Clarifying how the ATO administers tax cuts

Following media commentary, the ATO would like to clarify that in respect of announced tax cuts, while we do need law change there are also things that they can do administratively.

For example, if the Labor party agrees to support the Coalition tax cuts as announced, then the ATO would be able to update the tax withholding schedules, to allow the tax cuts to be reflected in people’s take home pay. However, they could not issue assessments based on the tax cuts until these are passed into law.

Find out more here. 

Workplace giving programs

Workplace giving is a simple way to regularly donate to charities or organisations that are entitled to receive tax deductible donations.

Your employer must ensure the participating charities or other organisations have ongoing deductible gift recipient (DGR) status. To check whether a charity is a DGR visit

Find out more here. 

VET FEE-HELP Student Redress Measures

New VET FEE-HELP Student Redress Measures came into effect on 1 January 2019. The new measures provide a remedy for eligible students who, due to the inappropriate conduct of their VET provider, incurred debts under the VET FEE-HELP loan scheme.

If you were affected, contact the VET Student Loans Ombudsman (part of the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman) who will assess and investigate your complaints.

Find out more here

Scammers fake ATO phone numbers

There is a current scam involving pre-recorded robocalls impersonating the ATO and threatening immediate arrest for an unpaid tax debt. The scammers use a technology known as 'spoofing' to show a genuine ATO number on the caller ID.

More information can be found here.


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