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Centrelink to data match details with ATO records

The Department of Human Services, which overseas Centrelink, has issued a notice of a data matching project that will enable it to compare income data it has on-hand with tax return data that has already been reported to the ATO.

Labelled by DHS the “Non employment income data matching project”, the initiative will “assist the department to identify social welfare recipients who may not have disclosed income and assets”.

DHS says the data it receives from the ATO will be electronically matched with certain internal departmental records to identify non-compliance with income or other reporting obligations.

The department expects to match each of the approximately seven million unique records held in its Centrelink database. Based on non-compliance criteria, the department anticipates it will examine approximately 20,000 records in the first phase of the project.



The department will use its “customer” information in the context of the income data project to:

·         verify the information reported to it

·         identify social welfare recipients who may not have disclosed income

·         match and validate tax return and the pay-as-you-go data from the ATO

·         identify discrepancies in the income declared to the department, and

·         consider whether the department will initiate relevant compliance action (including debt recovery or a referral to the Director of Public Prosecutions).

The sorts of people who may be affected by this data matching project will include welfare recipients who have lodged a tax return with the ATO during the period 2011 to 2014. DHS stipulates in its notice that the standards for data matching activities avow to protect the privacy of individuals.

Harper Group Pty Ltd Chartered Accountants Frankston Ph 03 9770 1547

Disclaimer: All information provided in this article is of a general nature only and is not personal financial or investment advice. Also, changes in legislation may occur frequently. We recommend that our formal advice be obtained before acting on the basis of this information.

Michael Sinclair