In 2015 the Australian Government announced that The Department of Immigration would be sharing information with the Australian Taxation Office.
Among the risks Kumar Krishnasamy, Tax Partner at BDO Melbourne, draws to the attention of employers is in connection with visitor / short-term visa categories where an employee subsequently receives a longer term visa (such as a sub-class 457 visa).
The ATO will be able to trace back and check whether all Australian tax obligations were met by the employer (for example PAYG, FBT, Superannuation etc.). He cites an example of where the employee could have been on an overseas payroll while on an Electronic Travel Authority or a short-term visa – but perhaps tax and super should have been paid in Australia during part or all of this period.
The situation could be further clouded if it appears work restrictions of the earlier visa were not adhered to by the employer.
Kumar’s advice to employers is to conduct a “health check” to look into their risks from this and other visa / tax overlaps. He observes that self-disclosure of oversights is always preferable to Tax Office audit discovery !
For more information Kumar Krishnasamy can be contacted at +61 3 9603 1773, or by email at Kumar.Krishnasamy@bdo.com.au