The ATO is investigating 195 cases of property bought illegally by foreigners

Mark Metcalfe/ Getty

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is investigating 195 cases where foreigners are said to have illegally bought property in Australia.

Tax commissioner Chris Jordan told a senate committee hearing today that some people approached the ATO voluntarily while others had been turned in.

“Some have come forward, some are complainants, because they think the people have breached, sometimes they have, sometimes they haven’t,” Mr Jordan said.

He was answering a question from Labor Senator Sam Dastyari.

Neil Olesen, the acting second tax commissioner, wasn’t able to provide a breakdown of property price ranges.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a fair slab of them were towards the top end of the market,” he said.

The ATO is also considering taking a detailed look at significant home sales over the last five to 10 years.

An investigation force of 60 people is being built by the ATO after receiving $47.5 million in the federal budget.

This funding was sparked by the forced sale of the $39 million Villa de Mare property at Point Piper in Sydney which had been purchased by Chinese interests.

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