Unexplained wealth and lifestyle? The ATO will investigate

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has signalled that it will be looking in finer detail when it perceives people with wealth and living a particular lifestyle which seems to be unexplained.

The Commissioner for Taxation, Chris Jordan has told the Institute of Public Accountants that this more granular look at wealth and lifestyle will represent a follow-on of the ATO’s work on the black economy and the (tax) gap estimates for individuals and small businesses.

“We are yet to release the Individual market and Small Business tax gap estimates, but given the work to date and the preliminary work of the Black Economy Taskforce, I can tell you [what] we are focused on,” Jordan said.

He said the ATO would be targeting:

  • Undeclared income
  • Unexplained wealth or lifestyle for individuals and small businesses
  • Private expenses incorrectly claimed
  • Unpaid superannuation guarantee
  • Concentrations of cash only businesses or those with low usage of merchant banking facilities.

The Tax Commissioner’s comments regarding unpaid superannuation guarantee payments follows on from claims made by the industry funds movement and evidence given to a Parliamentary Committee.

His reference to “unexplained wealth or lifestyle for individuals and small business” is understood to stem from the work of the so-called Black Economy Taskforce.


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