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ATO Set For Release Of Taxpayer Data

Friday, 28 June 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Mary Swire
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Author: Mary Swire

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is to release more of its tax return data into the public domain, a move Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury believes will benefit researchers.

The ATO has agreed to the initiative, which was originally recommended by the Henry Tax Review. The potential sample size of information available to researchers will be doubled to 2 percent of the total taxpayer population. Its scope will also be extended across twice as many data fields than are currently available.

The ATO will work with Treasury, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and two high profile academics, to examine ways to make these additional details accessible for research purposes.

Bradbury was, unsurprisingly, keen to stress that taxpayers should not be unduly worried about their privacy. The releases will be made within the boundaries of existing taxpayer confidentiality rules.

Speaking at the launch of a new Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, Bradbury said: "Of course, I realise that, from time to time, releasing more tax data may generate some short-term political noise. I would like to make it clear, however, that the privacy of individuals' tax affairs is something that should always remain paramount and we have no plans to change this."

He is instead confident that open access to tax data will help improve the transparency of the Australian tax system. This, Bradbury said, can only be a good thing.



Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.

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