What is the lifestyle assets data matching program?

The ATO have extended their lifestyle data-matching program until the 2022–23 financial year. The program is undertaken by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and serves to promote voluntary compliance and address a number of taxation risks relating to taxpayers. The ATO began the lifestyle data-matching program back in February 2016. The ATO has noted that approximately 300,000 individuals will have their data collected via insurance providers each year.

Why are the ATO undertaking this data matching program?

The ATO are seeking to address the following risks through the implementation of the program:

  • Taxpayers accumulating or improving assets with insufficient income reported in their tax returns to show the financial means to pay for them
  • Income tax and capital gains tax (CGT) – taxpayers disposing of assets and not declaring the revenue and/or capital gains on those disposals
  • Goods and services tax (GST) – taxpayers may be purchasing assets for personal use through their business or related entities and claiming GST credits they are not entitled to
  • Fringe benefits tax (FBT) – taxpayers may be purchasing assets through their business entities with no apparent nexus with their business activities, but rather applying those assets to the personal enjoyment of an associate or employee giving rise to a fringe benefits tax liability
  • Self-managed super funds (SMSFs) may be acquiring assets but applying them to the benefit of the fund’s trustee or beneficiaries.

Lifestyle asset classes and thresholds:

Under the program, the ATO collects data on lifestyle assets which fall into the following assets classes and relevant thresholds:

Asset ClassMinimum Asset Value Threshold
Motor Vehicles including caravans$65,000
Marine Vessels$100,000
Thoroughbred horses$65,000
Fine art$100,000 per item

The data collected includes identification details and policy details. If there is a discrepancy detected, the ATO has stated they will take a consultative approach and make contact with the taxpayer by phone, letter or email to confirm the accuracy of this information. Where a taxpayer does not comply with these obligations under the program, this could result in an escalation for prosecution action.

The ATO aren’t just data-matching life-style assets. They operate other programs under a similar approach including areas such as cryptocurrency, online selling, ride-sourcing and motor vehicles.

You can find more information on the data matching program on the ATO’s website. Alternatively, we are here to help! If you have any questions regarding this program or would like further information, please contact us on 03 5221 6399 or at info@davidsons.com.au.

Disclaimer: this information is of a general nature and should not be viewed as representing financial advice. Users of this information are encouraged to seek further advice if they are unclear as to the meaning of anything contained in this article. Davidsons accepts no responsibility for any loss suffered as a result of any party using or relying on this article.

Article written by Davidsons Accountant Liam Robinson.