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Compliance program


We collect revenue to help fund the future for the people of NSW. A key element of this is our compliance program which ensures the integrity of the tax and benefit systems we administer.

Our compliance approach aims to:

  • encourage and assist clients to comply

  • detect and deter non-compliance

  • provide a level playing field and minimise business disruption.

Encourage and assist clients to comply

We have a range of information and tools available on our website to ensure clients understand their obligations and the benefits they are entitled to. These include:

  • forms, factsheets, seminar notes and revenue rulings

  • interactive webinars

  • tax and duties calculators

  • online services for easy lodgement and payment

  • dedicated payroll tax client account managers to help new clients during their first year of registration

  • a free subscription service where you can register to receive email alerts about our latest changes.

We also provide telephone support to assist clients across all our taxes and benefits.

Tax update seminars are held in metropolitan and regional areas to inform businesses, solicitors, accountants and professional advisors of changes and issues relating to the legislation we administer.

Detect and deter non-compliance

Our compliance program takes a targeted, risk-based approach to focus activities on areas of highest potential for non-compliance and minimise disruption for business.

We use data analytics and risk assessment processes to identify clients that may be non-compliant in their tax obligations or benefits and grants eligibility. These processes use specialist analytical software to review client data sourced from over 50 external agencies, including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), WorkCover, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Rental Bond Board.

Our audit and investigation projects focus on:

  • identifying and contacting individuals or businesses not currently registered within the tax system, but who are likely to have a liability

  • identifying clients who may have understated their liabilities through a program of desk and field audits

  • identifying clients who do not satisfy the eligibility requirements for benefits and grants

  • ensuring clients with an obligation to lodge returns do so in a timely manner.

For more information on Investigations, read the Investigations factsheet.

Information exchange with the ATO

We regularly exchange information with the ATO in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the ATO and all State revenue offices. Our shared use of information and data includes:

  • using Business Activity Statement (BAS) data to identify those businesses which should be registered for payroll tax

  • matching business wages, salaries data and fronge benefits data from the ATO to identify variances for payroll tax

  • identifying discrepancies in property related sales for duties and exemptions for land tax

  • identifying first home benefits receipients who may not have met the eligibility and residency requirements through rental and tax return information.

The ATO uses our information to:

  • identify businesses who should be registered for pay as you go (PAYG) withholding tax

  • identify discrepancies in property related sales related to income tax, goods and services tax, fringe benefits tax and capital gains tax.

If you have state tax liabilities (i.e. you need to lodge a payroll tax return), you may also have federal tax and superannuation liabilities. This means if you need to lodge a payroll tax return, then you will also need to withhold tax from payments to employees and provide superannuation. You should check your federal tax and superannuation obligations by visiting the ATO website.

Prosecuting evasions and fraud

We are serious about prosecuting deliberate evasion and fraud to ensure NSW taxes and benefits are fair and equitable. During 2015-16, we will continue to investigate and prosecute serious matters of non-compliance by:

  • conducting extensive data matching with third parties to ensure clients comply with their obligations for taxes and benefits

  • investigating suspected cases with a view to prosecution

  • instigating prosecution action against clients who deliberately provide false and misleading information concerning their tax and benefit liabilities

  • initiating prosecution action for failure to comply with formal notices requesting information

  • publicising prosecution outcomes to raise awareness.

Focus on Phoenix activity

We are a member of an interagency Phoenix Taskforce that aims to establish a coordinated approach to identifying individuals and entities who engage in fraudulent phoenix activity in order to avoid obligations, such as state and federal taxes and employee entitlements. The Taskforce allows for the sharing of information across jurisdictions so that strategies can be developed to minimise revenue loss.

Summary of our 2014-15 compliance results

As part of our compliance results for 2014-15, we:

  • conducted 271 duties investigations and identified over $739 000 in additional duty

  • conducted audits of 1782 EDR transactions, identifying $154 000  in additional duty

  • investigated over 22 600 landholders that were either not assessed for land tax or had incorrect exemptions applied. This resulted in 16 300 new liabilities and identified $151 million in additional land tax

  • conducted 118 duties landholder and land rich investigations, which identified an additional $38.8 million in duty

  • audited 2970 registered payroll tax clients which identified $119 million in additional payroll tax revenue

  • contacted over 2113 employers not registered for payroll tax that our data matching suggested may be liable. Of these, 2007 were found to be liable which identified $70.4 million in additional payroll tax revenue

  • completed 306 First Home Owner Grant investigations, which resulted in 181 recipients having to repay the grant with a value of $1.9 million, including penalties

  • completed 149 First Home Plus and First Home-New Home investigations, which resulted in 123 duties exemptions or concessions being repaid. The cancellation of these exemptions and concessions resulted in $1.7 million in additional duty, including interest and penalties

  • conducted 33 Insurance Duties investigations identifying over $220 000 in additional revenue.

Compliance line

We encourage clients to make voluntary disclosures if they find they have understated their liability. When a voluntary disclosure is made a reduced level of interest is imposed compared to those cases where the understatement is identified as a result of our action.

We also investigate anonymous disclosures from members of the public. Confidentiality is assured and we welcome any information about non-compliance relating to taxes, duties and grants we administer. Anonymous disclosures can be reported to the Compliance line.

1800 806 592*
8.30am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday

Last updated: 11 September 2017