ATO disclosures of taxpayer information

In its 2019-20 annual report, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) outlines how many disclosures of taxpayer information it has made to law enforcement agencies, and provides insight into the key agencies it cooperates with.


Section 355‑70 (item 1) of Schedule 1 to the Taxation Administration Act 1953 allows the disclosure of taxpayer information to specified law enforcement agencies where the information is:

  • Relevant to determining whether a serious offence has been, or is being, committed.
  • For enforcing a law, the contravention of which is a serious offence.
  • For proceeds of crime order proceedings.


Number of disclosures made by agency

Agencies to whom the most disclosures were made by the ATO during the reporting period include:

Agency Number of disclosures
Australian Federal Police (AFP) 1,948
Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) 914
NSW Police 445
Australian Border Force 243
Queensland Police 204
NSW Crime Commission 179
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) 138
Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) 136
South Australia Police 90
Attorney-General’s Department 76


Most of these disclosures are based on requests received by the ATO from the relevant agencies, however there are also a number of ATO-initiated disclosures. For example, 258 of the 1,948 disclosures to the AFP were initiated by the ATO.

The disclosures are also listed based on the specific types of crime and/or the responsible ATO taskforce. For example, the categorised disclosures to the AFP were:

Crime type / Taskforce Number of disclosures to AFP
Serious Offence 386
Fraud & Anti-Corruption Centre Taskforce 15
National Anti-Gang Taskforce 1,219
Phoenix Taskforce 21
Serious Financial Crime Taskforce 175
Trusts Taskforce 6
Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce 124
Black Economy Taskforce 2


This data can demonstrate the focus areas of specific agencies in working with the ATO to investigate wrongdoers. For example, it is evident that the AFP collaborates strongly with the ATO to combat criminal gangs and serious offences.

For some crime areas, there are limited agencies who collaborate with the ATO. For example, besides the AFP, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) is the only other agency who received disclosures relating to the National Anti-Gang Taskforce, with 109 disclosures within the period.

In contrast, in relation to serious offences, there are numerous additional agencies who received disclosures from the ATO including:

  • Courts such as the NSW Downing Centre District Court.
  • National bodies such as the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
  • State agencies such as the NSW Independent Commission against Corruption.
  • State police forces such as NSW Police.

Most requests are accepted by the ATO. Examples of requests being rejected relating to serious offences include one request by the Crime and Corruption Commission Western Australia, one request by Queensland Police, and three requests by NSW Police.



The ATO may disclose taxpayer information to law enforcement agencies if it is relevant to investigating a serious offence or enforcing a related law, or when dealing with proceeds of crime. The ATO’s annual report highlights the extent of its cooperation with numerous law enforcement agencies and bodies, across a range of serious crime areas including corruption, financial crime, and organised crime.

Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in all areas of criminal law. 

Contact us if you require assistance.