Tax & ATO News Australia

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ATO calls for more power!

The ATO has extensive investigative powers including, entering premises, demanding the provision of information in writing or by interview, demanding the provision of documents and issuing an offshore information exchange demand for documents, yet the ATO still wants more power. The ATO has called for the wire tapping laws to be changed so that it can access real time communications such as live phone calls. Under current law, only criminal law-enforcement agencies like the State Police and the Australian Federal Police can access prospective or real time data.  The ATO can only apply for warrants to gain access to “stored communications” such as emails, voice mails and SMS messages.

 

In its submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence, the ATO stated that, "allowing the ATO's criminal investigators access to real-time telecommunications data will enable the ATO to become far more responsive to attempts to defraud the commonwealth through credit and refund fraud”.  In addition to this, the ATO submitted that communication data should be stored for up to two years which is consistent with the European Union Data Retention Directive.
 
It will be interesting to see how this one plays out, particularly because it raises issues about privacy.
 

Posted in: Tax & ATO News Australia at 17 December 12

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Tax & ATO News Australia

Author: David Hughes

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