ATO’s Tax Avoidance Taskforce: extended operation, more funding

The Government will provide $325 million in 2023-24 and $327.6 million in 2024-25 to the ATO to extend the operation of the Tax Avoidance Taskforce by 2 years to 30 June 2025.

The Taskforce was established in 2016 to undertake compliance activities targeting multinationals, large public and private groups, trusts and high wealth individuals. It also scrutinises specialist tax advisors and intermediaries that promote tax avoidance schemes and strategies.

This measure is estimated to increase receipts by $2.1 billion and increase payments by $652.6 million over the forward estimates period.

Digitalising trust income reporting

 The Budget confirms the Government’s intention to digitalise trust and beneficiary income reporting and processing (ie this was subject to an earlier announcement).

It will allow all trust tax return filers the option to lodge income tax returns electronically, increasing pre-filling and automating ATO assurance processes. However, there are no other additional details in the Budget papers than in the earlier announcement.

Date of effect

The measure will commence from 1 July 2024 – “subject to advice from software providers about their capacity to deliver”. The Government also advises that it will consult with affected stakeholders, tax practitioners and digital service providers to finalise the policy scope, design and specifications.

Taxable payments data reporting (TPAR): option to link to BAS cycle

The Budget confirms the Treasurer’s earlier announcement that businesses will be provided with the option to report Taxable Payments Reporting System data on the same lodgement cycle as their activity statements, via accounting software.

The Government will consult with affected stakeholders, tax practitioners and digital service providers to finalise the policy scope, design and specifications of the measure.

Date of effect

Subject to advice from software providers about their capacity to deliver, it is anticipated that systems will be in place by 31 December 2023, with the measure to commence on 1 January 2024.

STP data to be shared with States and Territories

The Budget papers confirm the Government’s intention to develop the IT infrastructure required to allow the ATO to share single touch payroll (STP) data with State and Territory Revenue Offices on an ongoing basis.

Funding for this measure has already been provided for by the Government. The funding will be deployed following further consideration of which States and Territories are able and willing to make investments in their own systems and administrative processes to pre-fill payroll tax returns with STP data.