A globally coordinated day of action to put a stop to the suspected facilitation of offshore tax evasion has been undertaken this week across the United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.
The action occurred as part of a series of investigations in multiple countries into an international financial institution located in Central America, whose products and services are believed to be facilitating money laundering and tax evasion for customers across the globe.
It is believed that through this institution a number of clients may be using a sophisticated system to conceal and transfer wealth anonymously to evade their tax obligations and launder the proceeds of crime.
I recently engaged in a discussion with people who are worried that they might be “U.S. Persons” living in Australia. Their primary concern (and understandably so) is the possible U.S. taxation of their Australian Superannuations. For many, the “Super” is considered to be their most important retirement planning asset.
101 Ways to Save Money on Your Tax – Legally! is the Australian taxpayer’s essential guide to maximising returns. Comprehensively updated for 2017-2018, this indispensable resource explains all of the changes to the May 2017 budget to help you pay what you owe and not a penny more.
You’ll find answers to common questions, tax traps to avoid and plenty of tips from Mr. Taxman himself that can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Leverage your business, education, family, property, medical expenses, levies, shares and superannuation to get the tax return you deserve – and are fully entitled to under Australian law. Read More
The new law in brief
An important Bill affecting foreign investors into Australia was passed by the Australian Parliament, 25 September 2014, – the ‘Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2014 Measures No. 4) Bill 2014’.
It affects two areas of taxation in Australia – tax deductibility of financing expenses in an international context, and the taxation of dividends in Australia received from abroad.
This note deals with the tax deductibility of financing expenses – the so-called ‘thin cap’ rules. (It does not deal with the thin cap rules applicable to financial entities and banks). 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
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
Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan addressed the ATAX 11th International Tax Administration Conference in Sydney on Monday. At the tail-end of his address, he touched on International “secrecy haven” issues.
He says the data revolution “…is one reason why secrecy havens are failing”. Referring to Australia’s “…network of over 100 treaties and agreements”, he said that access to account data from domestic and international banks had enabled the ATO to initiate over 3,000 enquiries over the past six months.
Already completed enquiries and investigations into undeclared offshore income and assets meant that “…the Australian Federal Police and Australian Crimes Commission have Read More
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has announced that it will gather information from eBay Australia & New Zealand Pty Ltd about online sales transactions totaling $10,000 or more during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 tax years.
This data will be compared with the tax returns lodged by online traders as part of a new “online selling data matching program”. ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan says: “Our online selling data matching program helps us keep a level playing field for honest businesses. ”
Taxpayers whose returns do not reflect the income from their online trading may face penalty tax and interest charges. The harvesting of data is likely to be extended to other online auction and sales sites for 2013-2014 and later years. Read More
This continues my blog of 28 March titled: “Australian Tax Office Announces Terms of Foreshadowed Offshore Income Amnesty!“.
The recently announced Australian Taxation Office (ATO) offshore income amnesty is available to “All individuals, companies, corporate limited partnerships, partnerships and trusts (including superannuation funds and executors or administrators of deceased estates)” that are residents of Australia for taxation purposes. However, the amnesty is not available to individuals and entities-
1. Already being audited by the ATO
2. That have received a compulsory information gathering notice relating to offshore income Read More
The ATO yesterday announced the terms of its amnesty for Australian resident individuals with undisclosed offshore income.
The terms of the amnesty are reasonably generous. In simple terms, the amnesty (with a window open until 19 December) includes-
1. A 4-year cap: back-taxes will only be imposed on offshore income for the previous four years.
2. Non-disclosure penalties will be capped at 10%.
3. Nil penalties for low-level disclosures (<$20,000 pa). Read More
Pat McGrath of Australia’s national broadcaster ABC News reports that “About 100 Tax Office staff have begun a four year investigation into the tax affairs of big companies global companies operating in Australia.” (sic)
In an interview with Pat McGrath, Mark Konza (ATO Deputy Commissioner) said: “At the moment – and I should say this process is ongoing, so other cases will be identified over time – these 86 cases where we felt that the structuring events that had taken place seem to have a very bad effect on a company’s Australian tax position…”. Deputy Commissioner Konza continued, “We will issue assessments on companies that we think weren’t applying the law correctly. If they’re involved in profit shifting, they’ll get an assessment; they’ll get penalties as well.” Read More
According to Nassim Kadem’s article in today’s Australian Review (13 March 2014), the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has floated the idea of having outstanding tax debts listed by the personal credit rating agencies. This would require a change to the secrecy provisions of relevant taxation statutes.
However, in the last several decades, these provisions have been considerably watered down to accommodate information exchange between the ATO and various Australian and international government agencies. Accordingly, it might be expected that Australia’s Parliament will not be averse to the ATO suggestion.
ATO Second Commissioner Geoff Lepper was appearing before a Parliamentary hearing Read More