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More comprehensive compliance audits in 2013/14

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has announced it will be performing more comprehensive audits as part of its compliance program for 2013/14, specifically concentrating on loans, related-party transactions and exempt current pension incomes.

“We’ve tended to have a numbers-driven philosophy around our audits and increasingly we want to go for more depth,” ATO assistant deputy commissioner Stuart Forsyth told delegates at the 2013 Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia National SMSF Conference in Melbourne today.

“That said, our planned activities for this year are quite extensive. [There will be] 1100 income tax obligations rulings focused around non-arm’s-length income and exempt current pension income, 15,100 regulatory checks [with] a number of the regulatory checks based on the ACR (auditor contravention report).

“In the past, 2000 to 3000 ACRs have been processed through our active compliance area and we’re looking to do more of them. One of the reasons for that is quite simply we think we need to make more use of what the auditor has done.

“Increasingly we want to adopt more risk-based approaches.”

He said that meant if a fund had an ACR for the past five years in a row, it might be selected to undergo an ATO audit immediately.

“[This would happen] particularly if the problem is reported as rectified every year for the last five years. There is a limit,” he said.

He said there were also going to be 160 compliance checks around auditors.

“I don’t think we’ll get to that. We have a relatively small number of auditor cases in the pipeline at the moment. Probably about 10,” he said.

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