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ATO discovers dishonest property claims strategy

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Thanks to the Tax Office’s pervasive access to third-party data, crafty taxpayers who have been using property to cheat the system are being exposed.

The ATO’s data-matching program is at its most sophisticated, involving automated scanning and analysis of publicly available data, as well as data from third parties like banks, financial institutions, and both state and federal regulators.

As part of this program, the Tax Office has access to rental bond data and has caught out dodgy operators who are claiming expenses for properties they don’t own, or that don’t exist.

According to assistant commissioner at the ATO Karen Foat, that strategy is an easy spot for the Tax Office with its data-matching technology and processes.

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“We can and do identify that quite quickly, and act on it quite quickly,” she told Smart Property Investment.

However, often when mistakes are made, they’re not sinister and are related to a misunderstanding of how tax laws apply to investment properties.

“We do see people making a range of mistakes, even when they’re trying to do the right thing. Often it’s just that – an honest mistake,” said Ms Foat.

For a comprehensive list of what the ATO is monitoring this tax time, click here.

ATO discovers dishonest property claims strategy
Man wrapped in caution tape
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