ATO – Investigations turn to social media
The ATO are currently undertaking new and inventive ways to ensure you are being 100% honest when lodging your Income Tax Returns.
They have enlisted the help of data analysts to comb through your social media and online accounts to ensure your online lifestyle meets the details stated in your Income Tax Return.
A perfect example used by the ATO is an individual with no business income stated on their return, when the ATO performed a google search it was discovered the individual had a website where they were operating an online business and even had a Facebook page promoting the business.
The investigations do not stop at Facebook. The ATO have developed a program capable of collecting millions of pieces of data from various sources and using this to data-match. For example using insurance policies to ascertain your lifestyle assets, if you are the owner of high end vehicles, racehorses and yachts but your income does not reflect that you could afford them, this will issue a red flag on the ATO’s system.
The ATO want to convey the message of thinking twice when deciding not to declare income, the chances of getting caught are high and people are opening themselves up to substantial penalties and prosecution.
If you have any additional questions or wish to discuss further, the Morrows Tax team would love to hear from you.