An official announcement has been made to inform that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will be collecting visa data from the Department of Home Affairs for the fiscal years 2023–24 to 2025–26. The data to be gathered encompasses the following details:
- Identification information, which includes address histories for both visa applicants and sponsors.
- Contact histories for visa applicants and sponsors.
- Address histories for migration agents.
- Contact histories for migration agents.
- Active visas meeting the specified criteria.
- All instances of visa grants.
- Visa grant status at various points in time.
- Details of migration agents, being those individuals who aided or facilitated the visa processing.
- Comprehensive records of all international travel movements made by visa holders, including arrivals and departures.
- Specifics about sponsors of the 457 visa.
- Names of visa subclasses.
This operation is expected to yield records related to approximately 9 million individuals in each financial year. Click here to read the original Gazette Notice.
The primary objectives of this program are as follows:
- Tax and Super Reporting Fulfilment: The program aims to assist in ensuring that both individuals and businesses meet their tax and super reporting responsibilities. This includes encouraging them to accurately report their financial information.
- Voluntary Compliance Promotion: One of the central goals is to promote voluntary compliance by effectively communicating how external data is utilized. This communication is intended to motivate taxpayers to willingly adhere to their tax and super obligations, thereby increasing the public’s trust in the integrity of these systems.
- Risk Assessment and Refinement: The program seeks to continually enhance its understanding of tax and super risks associated with visa holders, visa sponsors, and migration agents. This understanding forms the basis for informed decision-making.
- Compliance Enhancement Strategies: It involves the development and implementation of treatment strategies designed to boost voluntary compliance. These strategies may encompass educational initiatives or compliance activities, as deemed appropriate.
- Visa Population Compliance: A crucial aspect of the program is ensuring that visa populations meet their obligations in terms of registration, lodgment, accurate reporting, and the payment of taxes and superannuation.
- Risk Detection Model Testing: The program will evaluate the accuracy and effectiveness of existing risk detection models and treatment systems and practices. This process will help identify areas where improvements can be made to enhance the efficiency of the system.
- Fraud Prevention: The program aims to identify potentially new or emerging approaches to fraud, especially those employed by entities controlling or exploiting the visa framework. This proactive approach is vital to maintain the integrity of the system.
- ABN Integrity Enhancement: The program seeks to improve the integrity of the tax and superannuation systems by canceling Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) held by individuals or entities that are ineligible to possess them.
- Foreign Investment Rule Support: It provides support for compliance activities under Australia’s foreign investment rules, ensuring that investments made by foreign entities are in accordance with relevant regulations.
These objectives collectively signify a comprehensive and proactive approach to tax and superannuation compliance, aiming to safeguard the integrity of these systems and promote voluntary adherence while identifying and mitigating risks and fraud.