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ATO watching for foreign income this Tax Time

The ATO is urging taxpayers who receive any foreign income from investments, family members or working overseas to make sure they report it this tax time.

New international data sharing agreements allow the ATO to track money across borders and identify individuals not meeting their obligations.

“This year, the ATO has received records
relating to more than 1.6 million off-shore
accounts holding over $100 billion and is
now using data-matching and sophisticated
analytics to identify foreign income that has
not been reported,” Assistant Commissioner
Karen Foat said.

The ATO has shared data on financial account information of foreign tax residents with over 65 foreign tax jurisdictions across the globe, including information on account holders, balances, interest and dividend payments, proceeds from the sale of assets, and other income.

In addition to a small number of individuals deliberately engaging in tax avoidance, the ATO is concerned about a large number that is unsure of how to meet their obligations.

“If you’re an Australian resident for tax
purposes, you are taxed on your worldwide
income, so you must declare all of your
foreign income no matter how small the
amount may be. This may include income
from offshore investments, employment,
pensions, business and consulting, or
capital gains on overseas assets,” Ms Foat
said.

“Even if you have paid tax on the overseas
income it must be reported to the ATO,
however you may be able to claim a foreign
income tax offset to account for any foreign
tax paid.”

The ATO is committed to providing advice and guidance to help taxpayers fully comply with their Australian tax obligations. This includes contacting taxpayers who have omitted foreign income, publishing new information to make foreign income and residency easier to understand, and advising Australians with more complex foreign dealings to consult a registered tax agent and make sure they are compliant with Australia’s tax laws.

Ref: ATO media release, 15 August 2019

 

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