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Australia Investigates On-Line Traders

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

29 July 2010

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has disclosed that it has obtained data from eBay Australia and Trading Post Australia, so as to assess the level of taxation compliance of individuals and businesses that sell goods or services online.

The data identifies members of online selling sites who have been involved in selling goods and services of a total value greater than AUD20,000 (USD17,800) in any of the past three financial years - 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10.

The ATO has said that it will use this data to improve the compliance with tax obligations of particular groups of taxpayers. It will help the ATO to identify individuals and businesses that do not report or under report their sales, as well as those that operate ‘off the books’ and avoid their obligations by not registering, lodging returns or making payments.

In addition, the data will also allow the ATO to understand better, and address the compliance behaviour of, taxpayers involved in online selling. It should also increase taxpayers’ awareness of the ways the ATO uses data matching to address tax compliance.

The ATO will contact individuals and businesses that it identifies as at risk of running part of their business off the books or in other ways not reporting all their income. It will encourage them to make a voluntary disclosure of any under-reported amounts. Where appropriate, the data will be used to support default assessments of a business’s tax liabilities.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining the new possibilities that offshore e-commerce open up for business, and analysing the offshore jurisdictions that have led the way in offering professional e-commerce regimes for international business, with a particular focus on e-gaming, is available in the Lowtax Library at and a description of the report can be seen at
TAGS: individuals | compliance | tax | small business | business | tax compliance | commerce | law | individuals in business | offshore e-commerce | corporation tax | Australia | offshore | internet | e-commerce | individual income tax

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