ATO asks eBay for help catching tax cheats

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ATO asks eBay for help catching tax cheats

Starts new data matching program.

The Australian Tax Office has enlisted the help of eBay in its hunt to catch tax cheats, commencing a data matching program with a number of online market operators.

eBay will be among a number of web merchants asked to hand over the records of thousands of Australian sellers to the tax office to ensure the individuals and businesses are paying their fair share.

The ATO said it will audit up to 40,000 account records linked to between 15,000 and 20,000 sellers who sold up to $10,000 worth of product in the year to June 30, 2014.

It will match the data with its own data holdings to identify sellers not complying with taxation law, specifically those with undeclared income and incorrect lodgment and reporting for GST.

“The purpose of the online selling data-matching program is to protect businesses from unfair competition by identifying taxpayers who are not complying with their taxation obligations," the ATO said.

"Before any compliance action is undertaken, individuals will be given at least 28 days to clarify and respond to the information that has been derived from the data matching program."

Sales data will be sought from Australian sites offering an online marketplace for the buying and selling of goods and services - including eBay Australia and New Zealand.

The data collected will include sellers’ account, business and personal names and identification; phone numbers; dates of birth; email addresses; number of annual and monthly sales transactions; and the value and number of annual and monthly sales transactions, among other things.

The ATO has had data matching programs in place since 2007-08. The programs have resulted in over 6000 individuals being targets and almost $4 million in penalties raised, it said.

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