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In 1991, we began matching Tax File Numbers (TFNs). We did this under the Data-matching Program (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990.
You can also find more information in our data matching program historical reports.
How we do it
When we match data, we compare information we get from an outside source with our own.
- Privacy Act 1988
- relevant secrecy provisions in program legislation.
We work with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). This ensures our systems and practices for matching data are appropriate.
We also meet OAIC Guidelines on Data Matching in Australian Government Administration. We use these guidelines when we match data that doesn’t involve matching Tax File Numbers (TFNs).
The role of the OAIC is to protect your privacy. They can look into:
- complaints about the program
- abuse of a person’s privacy.
There are heavy penalties if we misuse your information.
If you have concerns about your personal information, contact our complaints and feedback line. If you aren’t happy with how we’ve handled your privacy concerns you can contact the OAIC.
We wrote our data matching protocols with the OAIC to meet their data matching guidelines:
- 2016 Non employment income data matching protocol (NEIDM)
- 2017 PAYG data matching protocol
- 2017 Family day care data matching protocol
- 2017 Trust beneficiary data matching protocol
- 2017 Annual investment income report data matching protocol
- 2019 Matching of Centrelink and Medicare data protocol
- 2020 Data matching between Australian Taxation Office and Services Australia protocol
- 2020 Data matching between Australian Taxation Office and Services Australia STP Phase 1
- 2020 Data matching between Services Australia and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment
- 2021 STP protocol Phase 2
- 2021 Data matching between Australian Taxation Office and Services Australia
We also have a protocol specific to the response to the data matching activities for the Medibank Private, AHM, Medlab and Optus breaches.
Non-employment income data matching (NEIDM)
We developed the NEIDM measure in 2016. It is to address a compliance risk partly dealt with by our PAYG data matching activity.
The NEIDM measure allows us to data match with the ATO on non-employment related income. This may include income:
- earned by independent contractors
- obtained through investments.
Tax refund garnishee
Our tax garnishee program protocol gives details of data matching for people who have outstanding debts.
We can ask the ATO to garnishee some or all of your tax refund. We may do this if you have not engaged with the agency or entered into a repayment arrangement.
The ATO advises us when there is:
- an entitlement to a tax refund
- available credit from your tax refund.
If we garnish your money from the ATO we’ll send you a letter about how we recover money you owe.
The tax garnishee process is different to the offsetting process used to recover outstanding FTB debts and overpayments.