In a speech last week ATO’s Mark Konza, Deputy Commissioner – International, gave an insight into the ATO’s activities in responding to a number of the OECD’s post Cairns G20 Minister’s Conference BEPS Action Plan items.

Deputy Commissioner Konza put particular emphasis on the ATO’s strategy in connection with “Action Item 1: address the tax challenges of the digital economy”. Commenting on the ATO’s work on this aspect he said-

“The broader digital economy is also being addressed through our four-year dedicated compliance program to address International Structuring and Profit Shifting (ISAPS). Tax and law professionals from external firms have been recruited into the ATO to help Read More

The Australian Taxation Office has a webpage dedicated to tax related scams. Their latest video advising taxpayer’s how to protect themselves against scam attempts can be seen below.

This is the Transcript of the ATO Video that can be seen below:

Your personal information, like your identity — is unique. You use it to verify who you are and to access things like bank accounts, loans and tax returns.

Protecting your personal information is important. But do you know what to protect?

Personal information includes your name, address, date of birth, credit card details, myGov details, tax file number and driver’s licence details. Read More

The Australian Taxation Office recently published interactive “residency tools” to assist in determining whether a person arriving in or leaving from Australia, will be “resident” for tax purposes. The “tools” can be found at-

Random “testing” of the “residency tools” indicates that the Tax Office is likely to regard non-citizens coming to Australia to take up contracts of 2 or more years to be resident for tax purposes. This can have serious outcomes for senior executives coming to Australia.

Being regarded as an Australian resident for tax purposes means that being exposed to Read More

The ATO has adopted voiceprint technology as an option for identification of callers. Members of the community who use a telephone to interact with the ATO can elect to have a short “voiceprint” recorded. This will be used to verify the person’s identity for subsequent calls.

Second Commissioner Geoff Leeper disclosed that “In the last fortnight, over 30,000 Australians have already chosen to use our voice verification technology.” The ATO believes that the “voiceprint” identification will allow it to provide a more efficient and secure service. This is in the context of a call rate of some 8 million per year.

The ATO’s “voiceprint” technology creates a digital representation of the sound, rhythm, Read More

This week the ATO warned taxpayers to “…be aware of fraudsters as they target people lodging their income tax returns by the 31 October deadline”. It was revealed that 45,588 reports of actual or attempted tax scams had been recorded during the year to 30 June. The ATO encouraged taxpayers to report scams directly to them.

Chief Technology Officer Todd Heather said “This year we are seeing more targeted scams sent to taxpayers where the perpetrators make the email more convincing by using the latest ATO website imagery and the names and signatures of real ATO staff”. He also noted “…a nasty phone scam where taxpayers are threatened with arrest if they do not pay a fake tax debt over the phone”. Read More

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has just issued a guidance paper stating: “The ATO’s view is that Bitcoin is neither money nor a foreign currency, and the supply of bitcoin is not a financial supply for goods and services tax (GST) purposes.”

Furthermore, the ATO says: “Bitcoin is, however, an asset for capital gains tax (CGT) purposes.”

For businesses that use Bitcoins (or any other crypto-currencies) to buy and sell trading stock, the transactions will be treated for tax purposes as a bartering arrangement. Buying trading stock with Bitcoins will require businesses to charge the 10% GST on the coins. Selling trading stock for Bitcoins will mean the business can claim an input tax credit for Read More

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is ramping up its “Project Do It” assault on offshore tax evasion by Australian residents. It is encouraging residents with undisclosed offshore funds to take advantage of an amnesty before 19 December 2014.

To date, some 375 residents have made disclosures under the amnesty arrangements. Approximately AUD37 million has been reported so far.

According to the Taxation Office, a further 450 or so residents have indicated they propose to make a voluntary disclosure under the amnesty.

A new interactive webpage ( has been launched dealing with global tax evasion. Read More

Australia’s 2012 “significant investor” residence visa scheme has attracted some 1,000 applicants who have committed to invest AUD4 billion in businesses or other complying investments. To date, the vast majority of applicants have been from Chinese nationals.

The scheme might have been expected to attract some interest from Russian entrepreneurs and investors. However, Australia’s personal tax rates may be a distraction (an effective maximum marginal rate of 49% currently applies to income in excess of AUD180,000 pa). Furthermore, the current geopolitical situation around Ukraine and the flight MH17 atrocity may now deter potential applicants who might be regarded as associates of the Russian leadership. Read More

The recent addition of §3C to Australia’s Taxation Administration Act 1953 mandates that the Taxation Office publish “as soon as practicable after the end of the income year” the following tax information relating to all companies with reported total income of $100 million or more-

1. Company name and Australian Business Number
2. Total income of the year
3. Taxable income for the year
4. Income tax payable for the year

Both publicly listed and large family companies will be affected by this “tax transparency” Read More

Information in an Australian Tax Office press release last Monday indicates that information designed to identify undeclared assets and income will be “mined” from:

• overseas tax authorities regarding Australians with offshore investments and bank accounts;
• Australian and foreign banks on fund flows, interest and account balances;
• informants about offshore accounts; and
• money transfers to and from offshore bank accounts.

In the press release, Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said “…the new information would be used to encourage people to disclose under Project DO IT, the Read More

Australia’s Treasurer Joe Hockey announced on Tuesday that Australia and the United States “…signed an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) to reduce the burden on Australian financial institutions in complying with the United States’ Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).”

The treasurer commented that the agreement would assist Australian financial institutions to comply with FATCA and minimise the costs of doing so. He also mentioned that “…it broadens arrangements between the Australian Taxation Office and the US Internal Revenue Service” and that it “…will also improve existing tax information-sharing arrangements between Australia and the United States, for the purpose of presenting tax evasion.” Read More