Data matching models at the Australian Taxation Office have flagged
almost five percent of this year’s income tax returns as potentially
fraudulent.

Since 1 July, the agency has finalised 460,000 returns from the
2010-11 financial year, issuing a total of 419,000 refunds worth $1.03
billion as of Wednesday.

It blocked 22,000 returns, worth $85.38 million and including 692
from the 2009-10 financial year, that were identified by risk models as
potentially fraudulent or overstated.

A spokesman for the tax office explained that tax returns were
assessed by its Income Tax Return Integrity program before being
finalised.

The program incorporated data mining, data matching approaches and the “assessment of indicators of known fraudulent behaviour”.

The tax office reported having received 1,286,000 income tax returns
for the new year, of which almost half were lodged electronically.