Tax crackdown on Australian temporary working visas

by Ray Clancy on May 14, 2013

in Jobs in Australia

Tax crackdown on Australian temporary working visas

Tax crackdown on Australian temporary working visas

Overseas workers in Australia with temporary working visas will not be able to escape their tax obligations under a programme allowing tax officials access to their details. A data matching programme means that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is able to acquire temporary working visa data from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

The current programme covers temporary working visa granted in the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2014. This follows on from a programme undertaken in 2010 and 2011 where similar data obtained from DIAC indicated to the ATO that there was an elevated risk of non-compliance and fraud associated with the temporary working visa population.

There are 27 temporary working visa categories covered by the programme including the Temporary Business Visa (Long Stay) Subclass 457; Occupational Trainee Visa Subclass 442; and Working Holiday Makers visa Subclass 417. An ATO spokesman said that one of the key objectives in obtaining this data is to improve intelligence on the overall level of compliance with taxation obligations of both employer sponsors and temporary working visa holders.

Quote from AustraliaForum.com : “I was just doing some thinking and was wondering if anyone has any thoughts or experience with trying to find work in Australia while on a temporary residency visa?”

While the ATO will be the main user of the data, the programme also allows for the ATO to share information with DIAC regarding visa holders not abiding by the conditions of their temporary working visas. Temporary working visa holders are being advised to make sure that their individual income tax returns are complete and correct and that all lodgements are up to date.

Meanwhile, tax officials are also working with their counterparts in the United States and the United Kingdom on data which reveals extensive use of complex offshore structures to conceal assets by wealthy individuals and companies. The information reveals complex offshore structures in a number of jurisdictions around the world including Singapore, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Cook Islands. It includes more than two million documents relating to thousands of people around the world. More than 100 Australians have been identified from the data.

The ATO has referred two cases for criminal investigation. More than 30 audits are underway and more cases are expected as investigations continue. The ATO is writing to people identified in the data and asking them to explain their overseas tax arrangements.

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