30 tax staff fired for privacy breaches


It’s been revealed that the workers improperly accessed taxpayer’s private information and were caught out.

More than 30 tax officials have been fired by the Australian Taxation Office after accessing taxpayer’s records without authorisation.

News.com.au understands that ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan sent an email to staff revealing more than 30 people had been sacked in the past year, but noted they weren’t all acting with malicious intent – some were a little curious, while others didn’t think there would be meaningful consequences.

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Cases of unauthorised access happen infrequently, and when they do the ATO acts swiftly to take appropriate action, an ATO spokesperson said.

“Following a review of the circumstances, staff found to have inappropriately accessed records face a range of consequences, generally consisting of financial sanctions, reduction in classification, termination of employment or in serious cases, referral for consideration of criminal investigation or prosecution,” they explained.

“Over the last year more than 30 staff had their employment terminated, contracts ended, or resigned during investigation.”

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The organisation takes the privacy of taxpayer information very seriously and have very clear rules and policies in place to protect the integrity of the information that taxpayers entrust with them, the spokesperson added.

“Our staff must adhere to strict obligations and may be investigated for potential breaches of the APS Code of Conduct if found to have accessed records inappropriately,” they said.

“The ATO has a zero-tolerance approach to breaches of secrecy obligations and utilises rigorous detection methods to identify accesses that may be unauthorised. Our approach continues to evolve with the use of emerging technology.”

For operational reasons the ATO is not able to comment on the specific number of unauthorised access cases occurring over recent years or the sanctions applied in individual cases, the spokesperson added.