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Just when it felt like they will enjoy the ‘freedom’ forever, Australia Taxation Office (ATO) recently revealed that it is ready to conduct a thorough raid on the crypto space to sniff out Australians who are evading paying their due taxes. This raid is expected to come down on both those who are consciously evading tax payment and those who unintentionally avoiding it.
This action was called for due to little amount of data the ATO holds on Australian taxpayers in the crypto space. The ATO made it known that it holds very limited data on the level of investment of Australian taxpayers involved with cryptocurrency. This also includes their capital gains and losses and even the transactions in the country’s crypto industry.
Therefore, they have resolved to embarking on a data-matching raid on the crypto space to help them reveal those who are honest with their tax and those evading paying those taxes – whether knowingly or unknowingly. According to the ATO Deputy Commissioner, Will Day, the goal of this action is to help taxpayers to get it right. Scrutinizing the crypto space from time to time will also ensure that all Australian crypto users are paying the right amount of tax.
As part of the raid, the ATO is sourcing records from exchanges in the country. Using its data-matching program, the ATO will sift through thousands of transactions and other information provided in the records. This will help them understand exactly how much Australians invest, lose, and gain; thus, helping them ascertain the right amount of tax each taxpayer is supposed to pay.
Besides tax evaders, the ATO explained that crypto coins have been employed to move funds within the illegal economy and to hide money offshore. In addition, these cryptocurrency is associated with unexplained wealth and undeclared capital gains. Hence the need to get involved in the rather chaotic crypto space.
Combining its data-matching program with help from other regulators and international agencies, the ATO has begun collecting bulk data from selected crypto service providers. After the enumeration, those of interest will be contacted and given 4 weeks to clarify the information provided.
I guess this would be a big blow to those who haven’t been properly disclosing their cryptocurrency income. However, it is good to know that tax evaders can no longer hide behind cryptocurrency, or at least that it would be much harder for them henceforth. I hope a similar measure would be applied to chase out cybercriminals and money launderers hiding behind cryptocurrency as well.