The rise of technology into business accounting has been a game-changer over the past 16 years. We can now make business and accounting decisions with live, accurate and up to date information.
No longer are we, as accountants, documenting what took place up to nine months in the past, but now we can work with clients as to what is happening right this minute in their businesses. Business and accounting is now completed much faster than in the past.
This is the up side, but there is a down side for those who think that they can skirt around the rules.
We are not the only ones using technology to help us. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) also has access to the latest technology, and for them it helps to close the gaps in reporting errors and errors in the cash economy.
The use of technology is changing in these areas:
- Data matching on what you buy and sell – The ATO is accessing more and more information including the vehicles you or your business own, what you have sold online and the frequency of the sales. With this information such as the vehicles the ATO then creates a box on the tax return to check that you are declaring private usage if required. With online selling, they check you are declaring the income. We have listed below all the data matching protocols that are currently present and growing.
- Paying superannuation for employees – With the new superannuation reporting, the ATO will soon be able to match that you declared wages on your BAS/IAS and what superannuation you paid to the superannuation funds.
- EFTPOS machines – it is believed that the ATO has been matching amounts you are collecting through your EFTPOS machine and hence what should be reported on your BAS.
- Property purchases and sales – we are seeing this now where we recently had the ATO refuse to pay an unrelated parties BAS refund until our client’s BAS was lodged showing that they were paying the GST on the property sale transaction.
- Data matching with others in your industry – This is increasing and where the ATO is looking at industry benchmarks and finding those who fall outside the usual trade and triggering audits based on this data.
- Outstanding Tax Returns – If you are behind with lodging your returns the ATO will find you. We have had an increase in the number of people with ten or more years outstanding that the ATO has tracked down and requested lodgement.
Current ATO data matching protocols:
- Australian Electoral Commission
- Banking transparency strategy
- Contractor payments data matching
- Credit & debit cards
- Foreign Investment Review Board
- Department of Human Services Specified Benefits and Entitlements
- Department of Immigration & Border Protection Visa Holders
- Lifestyle Assets
- Motor vehicle registries
- Online selling
- Real property transactions
- Ride sourcing
- Share transactions
- Specialised payment systems
- Taxable government grants & payments
It is now more important than ever to keep accurate records and do the right thing!