ATO launches property crackdown

A national accounting network has warned property owners that the ATO is watching them more closely to ensure they are meeting their obligations in relation to property transactions.

According to H&R Block, the ATO has launched a program to obtain details of all taxpayers’ property transactions from as far back as 1985 to match against information they already hold to ensure taxpayers are correctly meeting all tax and other obligations in relation to property dealings.

Among the haul of information the ATO expects over the next few months are the names of landlords, lease periods, amounts of rental bond, rents payable, dates of property transfers, names of transferors and transferees and valuation details.

All of that information – more than 30 million records – will then be matched with the information the ATO already holds on 11.3 million individuals, including tax return data disclosed by those taxpayers over the years, to ensure taxpayers are correctly meeting their tax and other obligations in relation to property dealings, H&R Block said.

Mark Chapman, director of tax communications at H&R Block, said the huge data haul has implications for everyone who has bought, sold or rented out a property in the past 30 years.

“If taxpayers are nervous that they might have under-declared some income or gains, or over-claimed expenses, they should be heading down to their nearest tax agent to get a tax ‘health-check’ on any property dealings,” Mr Chapman said.

“The ATO can build a complete picture of all taxpayers’ property-related transactions over that period, and without doubt if they find discrepancies, they’ll be coming to talk to them. Better to get in first and make a voluntary disclosure. That way penalties can be avoided if an audit takes place."

[Related: Tax incentives to support housing supply shortage]

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