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In brief

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has access to data from the Department of Home Affairs on passenger movements from the 2016-17 to 2022-23 financial years (being 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2023).

The ATO estimates that details of approximately 670,000 individuals will be obtained each financial year.

The passenger movement data-matching program will be used as part of the ATO’s risk-detection models in determining and assessing the residency status of individuals for Australian tax and superannuation, and to address identity and residency compliance risks including registration, lodgment, reporting and payment obligations.

The data items include the full name, personal identifier, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure dates, passport information and status types (visa status, residency, lawful and Australian citizen).

According to the ATO, the objectives of this data-matching program are the following:

  • to promote voluntary compliance and increase community confidence in the integrity of the tax and superannuation systems
  • to improve knowledge of the overall level of identity and residency compliance risks including registration, lodgment, reporting and payment obligations
  • to gain insights from the data to help develop and implement administrative strategies to improve voluntary compliance, which may include educational or compliance activities
  • to identify ineligible claims for tax and superannuation entitlements
  • to refine existing risk-detection models and treatment systems to identify and educate individuals and businesses who may be failing to meet their registration, lodgment and payment obligations and help them comply
  • to identify potentially new or emerging non-compliance and entities controlling or exploiting those methodologies

If the ATO detects a discrepancy that requires verification, they will contact the taxpayer usually by phone, letter or email. Taxpayers will be given at least 28 days to respond and verify the accuracy of the information before the ATO takes any administrative action.

Records received from the Department of Home Affairs will be retained by the ATO for five years.


John is Chair of the Australian offices and has been a partner at Baker McKenzie for almost 20 years, and head of the tax group for most of that time. John has held a variety of global, regional and local management roles and is currently a member of the firm’s Management Committee. John is widely recognised as one of Australian leading tax lawyers, including in various editions of the Australian Financial Review’s Best Lawyers, Chambers Asia Pacific, APL 500, Euromoney's International Tax Review's World Tax and the Tax Directors Handbook and was last year’s Lawyers Weekly Tax Lawyer of the Year. He writes and teaches broadly, and is currently a lecturer in the Sydney University LLM program and a writer for Thompson’s loose leaf income tax service and the author of BNA Buchanan Ingersoll PC’s Tax Management: Business Operations in Australia. He is also the head of the Firm's Structured Assets group in Australia, which incorporates the Tax, Financial Services, Commercial Real Estate and Hotels, Resorts & Tourism groups.

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