January 21, 2018 / 2:59 AM / 7 months ago

Australian tax office to audit 20 million foreign visa holders

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Australian Taxation Office will investigate more than 20 million international visa holders and foreign students using data-matching audits to catch tax avoidance and enforce superannuation compliance, the agency said on Sunday.

The three-year data matching audit will cross-reference information from the Australian government’s Home Affairs Department with Australian Tax Office (ATO) records.

“It is estimated that records of 20 million individuals will be obtained over the course of the three-year period,” the ATO confirmed with Reuters on Sunday.

“These records will be electronically matched with ATO data holdings to identify non-compliance with obligations under taxation and superannuation laws.”

Information on visa holders, foreign students, their sponsors, education providers and migration agents will be reviewed along with address records, travel movements and visa lodgments over financial years from 2017-18 and 2019-20.

If any discrepancies are found, the individual will have 28 days to respond to a request for information before administrative action is taken, said the ATO.

Reporting by Alison Bevege; Editing by Michael Perry

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