In releasing the ATO's annual compliance program today, Tax Commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo said it was important for the community to be given the opportunity to understand the ATO's compliance activities and practices.
This year the ATO will put under the microscope:
"By openly setting out our focus areas for the year ahead we want to encourage people to make the right decisions. This includes helping them avoid being trapped by tax schemes, in particular by stepping up our efforts to ensure people can recognise, reject and report tax avoidance schemes," Mr D'Ascenzo said.
Focus areas identified by the ATO as significant risks to tax and superannuation compliance this year include:
Stopping false claims and identity crime are a continuing priority this year, with the ATO increasingly analysing and matching information provided by third parties.
"We check over 600 million transactions a year. This means that we can detect those who do not report all their income from things like dividends and interest, capital gains, and foreign income," Mr D'Ascenzo said.
"Last year we stopped more than 109,000 income tax returns for potentially incorrect or fraudulent claims saving the community almost $200 million in revenue.
"We are also focusing on businesses meeting their superannuation obligations, with a continuation of compliance activities focussed on high risk industry groups. This is our fourth year for this program, and we will be scrutinising cafes and restaurants, real estate businesses, and carpentry businesses in home building or construction.
"Since 2005 we have collected and paid $1.7 billion in superannuation guarantee to employees.
"And, for small to medium and large business, we will be looking particularly at restructures that shift profits offshore and the GST risks associated with the sale, transfer and acquisition of property," Mr D'Ascenzo said.
"An area we will be focussing on is the tobacco industry's excise obligation relating to any destruction of product and refund claims in the transition of plain packaging from 1 December."
Underpinning the compliance program this year are a number of initiatives the ATO is promoting to support those who want to do the right thing but need some help.
"We believe the majority of people try to do the right thing in meeting their tax obligations, and we find that where mistakes are made there is a low rate of them being repeated," Mr D'Ascenzo said.
"So this year the program also outlines what we are doing and what resources are available to help make complying as easy and inexpensive as possible.
"This includes special assistance for those who are new to the tax system. Last year we provided business assistance visits to almost 10,000 businesses."