Your Insurers are telling the ATO all about your lifestyle assets.

Do you own what the ATO may class as “lifestyle assets” such as boats, luxury vehicles, horses, fine art or aircraft? If so, it is important to know the ATO are asking for details about them from your Insurer!

The ATO’s Lifestyle Assets Data Matching Program

That’s right, the Federal Government, via the ATO, are requesting detailed information from Australian insurers about the so call “lifestyle assets” owned by Australia’s citizens and taxpayers.  And they have been doing so for some time.

The ATO’s Lifestyle Assets Data Matching Program has been running since 2016, though this is actually the second coming with similar programs having commenced in 2011.

To date the ATO have collected data relating to the 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years.  But they have just announced they will now be collecting data for an additional five years up to and including 2019/20.

What is the Purpose of the ATO’s Lifestyle Assets Data Matching Program?

There are a number of taxation risks that the ATO say they are looking to address through their Lifestyle Assets Data Matching Program.  These include –

  • Identification of taxpayers who declare income insufficient to support the owning of such lifestyle assets,
  • Identify undeclared capital gains on the disposal of such lifestyle assets, and
  • Claiming of expenses related to personal use of lifestyle assets against business income (and/or failure to declare the private use for Fringe Benefits Tax purposes).

Details of the Program

The ATO obtain the information under powers provided to it by the Taxation Administration Act 1953.

The powers ensure your insurer is obligated to provide the information, like it or not.  The only time the insurer may be able to avoid doing so is if the ATO agree that the cost of the exercise outweighs the potential benefits.

What Lifestyle Assets Are Included in the Program?

The ATO advise information about the following assets will be collected, based on the shown value thresholds –

Asset ClassMinimum Asset Value Threshold
Marine Vessels$100,000
Motor Vehicles$65,000
Thoroughbred Horses$65,000
Fine Art$100,000
Aircraft$150,000

Which Insurers are Providing Information to the ATO?

According to the ATO, the following insurers are being asked to handover relevant information –

  • AAMI
  • AIG
  • Allianz
  • Apia
  • Bingle
  • CGU Insurance
  • Chubb Insurance
  • Club Marine
  • Coles Insurance
  • CommInsure
  • GIO
  • Insuremyride
  • Just Car Insurance
  • Lumley
  • Nautilus Marine
  • NRMA
  • QBE
  • RAA Insurance
  • RACQ
  • RACV
  • RAC Insurance
  • Resilium
  • SGIC
  • SGIO
  • Shannons
  • Suncorp
  • Swann Insurance
  • Vero
  • WFI
  • Youi
  • Zurich Australian Insurance

What Data is Collected?

The ATO advise the data collected will contain some or all of the following –

Client identification details – individuals

  • Given and surname(s)
  • Date(s) of birth
  • Addresses (residential, postal, other)
  • Australian business number (if applicable)
  • Email address
  • Contact phone number

Client identification details – non-individuals

  • Business name
  • Addresses (business, postal, registered, other)
  • Australian business number
  • Contact name
  • Contact phone number
  • Email address

Policy details

  • Policy number
  • Policy inception date
  • Start date of current policy
  • End date of current policy
  • Total value insured
  • Purchase price of the property insured
  • Registration number or identification number of the property
  • Insurance category
  • Policy cost
  • Description of the property insured
  • Primary use type

Our Thoughts…

It is argued this data gathering is for the greater good. But many can’t help but wonder at what cost. There is no doubt the lack of privacy in today’s world is frightening and we can’t help but be concerned with just how far the ever expanding powers of governments around the world will reach and the what the ultimate consequences may be. Regardless of your view, it is important to be informed so if you wish to learn more about the ATO’s Lifestyle Assets Data Matching you can do so here –> https://www.ato.gov.au/General/Gen/Lifestyle-Assets-Data-Matching-Program-Protocol/.