- To establish a regime for the responsible handling of personal information in the public sector.
- To provide individuals with rights to information held about them by organisations.
- To provide remedies for interference with the information privacy of an individual.
Under that Act, personal information is any information or an opinion (including information or an opinion forming part of a data base) that is recorded in any form, and whether true or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can be reasonably ascertained, from the information or opinion.
The State Revenue Office's functions and responsibilities
As Victoria’s major revenue collection agency, the State Revenue Office is responsible for administering state taxes and levies, and for payments made under various assistance schemes, such as the Back to Work Scheme and the First Home Owner Grant.
Victorian taxation laws
The following taxes are administered under the Taxation Administration Act 1997:
- Duties - Duties Act 2000 (Stamps Act 1958)
- Livestock duty - Part 6, Livestock Disease Control Act 1994
- Land Tax - Land Tax Act 2005 (Land Tax Act 1958)
- Payroll Tax - Payroll Tax Act 2007 (Pay-roll Tax Act 1971)
- Congestion Levy - Congestion Levy Act 2005
- Growth Area Infrastructure Contribution - Part 9B, Planning and Environment Act 1987
- Commercial Passenger Vehicle Service Levy - Part 11, Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017
- Wagering and Betting Tax - Part 6A of Chapter 4, Gambling Regulation Act 2003
- Metropolitan Planning Levy - Part 4, Planning and Environment Act 1987
- Fire Services Property Levy - Part 4, Fire Services Property Levy Act 2012
Payments, grants, rebates and subsidies:
- First Home Owner Grant - First Home Owner Grant Act 2000
- Back to Work payments - Back to Work Act 2015
- Unclaimed money - Unclaimed Money Act 2008
The unclaimed money regime - The Registrar of Unclaimed Money is obliged to keep a comprehensive Unclaimed Money Register for administering the Unclaimed Money Act 2008. The Registrar is obliged to publish details on the register to enable owners to locate their entitlements. However, having regard to privacy rights, the Registrar is required to confine the published details to the minimum amount needed for its purpose. To find out whether the State Revenue Office holds any unclaimed money, a person can search the register by entering their name and address. Any entitlements that match a search will be displayed on the search results. This published version of the register provides sufficient details for an owner to identify a claim, but withholds certain details to ensure that there is still undisclosed information against which an applicant’s claim can be assessed.
Information privacy principles
As an agency responsible for protecting public revenue under a law administered by it, the State Revenue Office is a 'law enforcement agency' for the purposes of section 3 of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014. Under section 15 of that Act, a law enforcement agency is not required to comply with certain Information Privacy Principles to the extent that such non-compliance is necessary to perform a law enforcement function or activity.
In administering these and other Acts, the State Revenue Office may collect and use personal information about individuals for the purposes of assessing a tax liability or conferring a benefit. The State Revenue Office collects personal information in accordance with the law for the purposes of assessment, collection, management and protection of revenue under Acts it administers.
In most cases, the State Revenue Office collects the information directly from the individual or a legal or financial representative authorised to act on their behalf. The State Revenue Office may also obtain personal information from other sources, such as VicRoads, WorkSafe Victoria, Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and other revenue offices. Enrolment information is also received from the Victorian Electoral Commission pursuant to the Electoral Act 2002. Information obtained by the State Revenue Office is used for data verification, revenue management and revenue protection purposes and is handled in accordance with the State Revenue Office’s legislative obligations.
The State Revenue Office commonly collects personal information through:
- returns, applications, notices and statements,
- requests for private rulings, objections, submissions and enquiries,
- customer feedback, surveys and research data,
- solicited or unsolicited correspondence and communications from the public.
In addition, the State Revenue Office may collect personal information from current or prospective employees, or persons seeking to be engaged by it under contract. The State Revenue Office’s human resources functions are administered in accordance with the Public Administration Act 2004.
Where the State Revenue Office is collecting information that will also be used and disclosed for Commonwealth reporting purposes, the State Revenue Office’s Collection Statement identifies the relevant details and the additional purposes for which the information may be used and disclosed.
The State Revenue Office takes care to ensure that the personal information it collects about an individual is complete, up to date, and accurate. It conducts data matching activities for the purposes of ascertaining compliance with the Acts it administers, to verify or supplement information provided by a customer and to verify eligibility for certain concessions and exemptions.
Use and disclosure of information
The State Revenue Office does not use personal information other than in accordance with the law and for the purpose for which it was collected, or for a purpose you would reasonably expect associated with its revenue collection or revenue protection functions. The State Revenue Office may need to provide access to personal information to its contractors to perform functions involved in administering its responsibilities, such as providing IT or printing services. Contractors engaged by the State Revenue Office are required to comply with the requirements of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014, and the secrecy provisions of the laws administered by it.
The State Revenue Office does not disclose any information (including personal information) collected by it unless authorised by law, or with the person’s consent.
The State Revenue Office is bound by secrecy provisions in the Acts administered by it. In relation to state taxes, the secrecy provisions in the Taxation Administration Act 1997 enable disclosure of information obtained under the taxation laws in the following circumstances:
- With the person’s consent.
- In connection with administering or executing the Acts administered by the State Revenue Office, the Australian Taxation Office, or another state and territory revenue office, as required by another Victorian Act.
- For specific purposes outlined in the legislation.
- To the office-holders and agencies listed as authorised to receive disclosures. Authorised recipients include certain Victorian, state, territory and commonwealth government authorities.
Similarly, secrecy and confidentiality provisions in other laws administered by the State Revenue Office — the First Home Owner Grant Act 2000, the Back to Work Act 2014, the Fire Services Property Levy Act 2012 and the Unclaimed Money Act 2008 — set out the purposes and agencies for which disclosures can be made under those laws.
The State Revenue Office uses information obtained by it for creating statistics or considering economic trends for the purposes of government reporting, but there is no disclosure of personal information associated with such reporting.
Data security and retention
The State Revenue Office takes care to ensure that any personal information it holds about an individual is protected from misuse or loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. Its Risk Management Framework aligns with the Victorian Government Risk Management Framework and the AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 standard.
In addition, the State Revenue Office has policies to ensure that information (including personal information) is securely stored and is destroyed or disposed of when it is no longer relevant or necessary for the purposes of the Acts it administer or other of its functions. Documents are stored, retained or destroyed in accordance with the Public Records Act 1973.
Ensuring your browser is current with the latest patches applied will protect your confidential information. Failing to do so may compromise the security of your information, including credit card details, and result in you being unable to make payments through the State Revenue Office’s online facilities.
The State Revenue Office may also collect personal information from other sources in order to verify or supplement information required for the assessment, investigation and enforcement of tax obligations and determining entitlements to grants and payments.
Access to your personal information and correction
The Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) provide individuals with statutory rights of access to their own personal information held by government agencies about them.
Under the FOI Act, formal requests for access to personal information or correction of personal information can be made to the Information Officer.
Transborder data flows
The State Revenue Office may, in some circumstances, disclose personal information or information collected from you, to other agencies in other jurisdictions, or to the Federal Commissioner of Taxation.
Transborder data flows are governed by secrecy laws which authorise the State Revenue Office to provide information obtained under revenue laws, including personal information, to specified agencies in other jurisdictions. The State Revenue Office administers Acts which permit the provision of information to other agencies and jurisdictions. View the agencies permitted to receive information from the State Revenue Office under these laws.
The State Revenue Office does not collect sensitive information from individuals, unless necessary for the purposes of Acts it administers or in managing its employees or contractors.
A unique identifier is a series of alphabetic or numeric characters, which may be applied to an individual to distinguish them from other individuals. The State Revenue Office may assign, use or disclose unique identifiers to individuals where this necessary to do so to carry out its functions. For example, assessment and customer numbers are needed for administering taxes and grants.
It may not be possible for the State Revenue Office to properly administer its Acts or carry out its functions unless an individual provides personal information to it (as required by law). However, in some very limited circumstances — for example, if a person is making a general enquiry or providing tip-off information — the State Revenue Office may permit personal information identifying the source of details supplied to it to be removed or withheld.
Enquiries and complaints
Any enquiries or complaints should be directed to the State Revenue Office’s Privacy Officer, either by telephone on 9628 0000, online or in writing to:
State Revenue Office
GPO Box 1641
Melbourne VIC 3001
If a complaint cannot be resolved, the Privacy and Data Protection Deputy Commissioner may be able to help. Visit the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner website or telephone the office on 1300 006 842.