Companies should carefully consider the focus areas identified in the ATO’s compliance program for the year ahead and ensure that they are particularly vigilant on these issues.

The ATO has released its compliance program for 2012-13.

For small–to–medium enterprises (with annual turnover between $2 million and $250 million), the ATO’s focus areas include:

  • wealthy and highly wealthy individuals;
  • inappropriate minimisation of tax through trust arrangements;
  • loan arrangements in relation to private company profits:
  • incorrectly reported capital gains or losses;
  • employer’s non-compliance with fringe benefits tax obligations;
  • adequacy of systems to support correct GST and excise reporting;
  • sale, transfer and acquisition of property;
  • international profit shifting; and
  • reporting of PAYG withholding.

For large businesses (with annual turnover greater than $250 million), the ATO's focus areas include:

  • GST business systems of mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and financial and insurance services industries;
  • GST risks associated with the sale, transfer and acquisition of real property;
  • implementation of the taxation of financial arrangements amendments;
  • multi-national enterprises and related party arrangements that shift profits out of Australia;
  • corporate restructures and mergers and acquisitions; and
  • incorrect (or contrived) applications of the consolidation cost-setting rules.

The ATO will also focus on compliance by employers with superannuation obligations.

See the ATO’s media release, dated 19 July 2012 and compliance program 2012-13.