Appendix 10: Use of access powers

Our published Access and information gathering manual contains the policies and procedures for using our powers. In most circumstances, we work cooperatively with taxpayers and third parties in obtaining relevant information without having to exercise our formal powers.

The use of formal information-gathering notices is necessary where third parties, such as financial institutions, provide private tax-related information to us. They are also necessary in some cases to establish the relevant facts and evidence in audits and other investigations.

On no occasion did we gather relevant information using our powers to obtain access without notice.

During 2015–16, there were 11,922 formal notices issued across all markets to obtain relevant information and documents. These included situations where we combined notices for information and documents with notices requiring formal interviews.

TABLE 4.17 Formal access and information-gathering powers used by the Commissioner, 2015–16

Access

Approved submissions

With notice (section 353-10)

23

Without notice (section 353-15)

0

Immediate

1

TOTAL

24

Formal information-gathering notices

No. of notices

Information or document

11,564

Attend and give evidence

319

Formal offshore requests

39

TOTAL

11,922

 

Use of assumed identities

Our employees may use assumed identities to gather intelligence and evidence against individuals and criminal networks under investigation. Under the Crimes Act 1914, we are required to regularly audit records of authorisations and revocations of assumed identities.

At 30 June 2016, there were no authorisations for our field intelligence staff to hold assumed identities.