Records of 20 million visa holders to be checked by Australian tax man

by Ray Clancy on February 9, 2018

in Australia

The tax records of more than 20 million people working in Australia, including students, are to be checked that they are paying the right amounts.

As well as visa records, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will examine the records sponsors and migration agents from July of last year over the next three years.


(By Michael Leslie/

During the audit officials will match financial information against immigration data to check whether people are complying with their tax and superannuation obligations.

According to the ATO an analysis of previous years’ data has shown that the highest risk of non-tax compliance is found among visa holders.

The audit will include the address history of visa applicants and their sponsors, all their arrivals and departures in Australia and details of their education provider if they are on a student visa.

But it is not all be bad news. For example eligible migrants who have left Australia without claiming their superannuation may still be able to get their entitlements.

‘It is estimated that records of 20 million individuals will be obtained over the course of the three-year period. These records will be electronically matched with ATO data holdings to identify noncompliance with obligations under taxation and superannuation laws,’ said an ATO spokesman.

‘The objectives of this data matching program are to maintain currency of our knowledge of taxation and superannuation risks within the visa holders, visa sponsors and migration agents populations and test the accuracy and strengths of our existing risk detection models and identify areas for improvement in our models, treatment systems and practices,’ the spokesman added.

If any discrepancies are found individuals will have 28 days to respond to a request for information before administrative action is taken.

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