ATO refines data-matching of share trades

Financial advisers and their clients will have to keep a tighter focus on share portfolio transactions amid news from the Australian Taxation Office that it has extended its data matching program in a manner which will give it visibility on trades.

The ATO announced this week that it has put in place a new data matching protocol that will see it continue to receive share data from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) including details of price, quantity and time of individual trades dating back to 2014.

Commenting on the development, ATO assistant commissioner, Kath Anderson said the information complemented information the ATO already held from brokers, share registries and exchanges.

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She said the ATO would use sophisticated technology to match the data against information reported in tax returns and other ATO records and use it to identify taxpayers who had not properly reported the sale or transfer of shares as income or capital gains.

“Having access to increased data will help us to protect honest taxpayers, by detecting those who have not done the right thing. This helps ensure a level playing field for all,” Anderson said.

She said share transactions had been high on the ATO’s priority list given that more than five million Australian adults now owned shares and there was evidence some taxpayers were getting it wrong when it came to reporting their capital gains or losses from the sale shares.

“In particular, we tend to see higher rates of error among those who don’t regularly trade in shares and who are not aware of the tax implications,” Anderson said.

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