ATO looking back at 32 years’ worth of property records

Recently Treasurer Scott Morrison threw down the gauntlet to foreign investors illegally buying residential properties in Australia, saying they simply aren’t going to get away with it.

He made reference to “sophisticated data matching capabilities” of the new ATO foreign investment taskforce.

At the time little was know about their plans, but now things are becoming clear.

The government will cross-check the records of 11.3 million people in a bid to hunt down illegal owners of Australian real estate.

The Australian Financial Review reports that the Australian Tax Office – which is now responsible for overseeing foreign property investment – put in a request to access 32 years’ worth of data relating to property transactions across the country.

The ATO has demanded revenue and land title authorities across all states and territories hand over information from between 1985 to 2017 relating to property sales, sub-divisions, land transfers and valuation details.

Rental bond authorities in each state and territory will also be required to provide details of leased properties during that period including information about rental payments, length of lease, bond amount and landlord details.

An estimated 31 million records for each year between 1985 and 2017 will be handed over to the tax office.

An ATO spokesperson said:

“The property data will be used to assist in the screening of foreign resident real estate applications and compliance activity to ensure foreign residents are complying with relevant laws,”

Since being charged with overseeing the foreign residential property, the ATO has stepped up its investigations with the employment of 50 compliance officers charged with investigating potential breaches of the law.

Source: Australian Financial Review 


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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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