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Tag Archive for Australian Tax Office

Australian Tax Office Tax Residency Determination Tools Released

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-

https://www.ato.gov.au/Tax-professionals/News-and-updates/Income-tax/Are-your-clients-residents-for-tax-purposes-/?tpissue-32-2014

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

Australian Tax Office Adopts “Voiceprint” Technology

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

Bitcoins Are Not “Currency” – Australian Tax Office

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

Australian Tax Office Ramps Up Offshore Money Chase

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 (http://taxmatters.gov.au) has been launched dealing with global tax evasion. Read more

Australian Tax Office To Publish Tax Data For Large Companies

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

South African Emigre’s Offshore Tax Plan Falls Foul of Australian Tax Office’s Aggressive Audit Approach

TaxConnections Picture - South African MoneyThe Australian Tax Office (“ATO”) appears to be aggressively opposing a South African emigre’s appeal against his A$21 million income tax assessments. The case of Mark Krok v Commissioner of Taxation NSD572/2013 is listed for a Directions Hearing on 7 November in Australia’s Federal Court.

A report by Susannah Moran in today’s Australian newspaper – see http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/ato-sets-sights-on-s-african-millions/story-e6frg8zx-1226750019299 – says that “The ATO has accused Mr. Krok of tax evasion and fraud, claiming he understated his income and failed to declare capital gains made on share sales during the six years he lived in Australia.”

It is suggested that in a 5-day hiatus between leaving South Africa and arriving in Australia, Mr Krok distributed all the assets of a trust established by his father and entered into an arrangement involving a BVI company owned by a Liechtenstein Foundation.

This case will be closely watched by international tax planners and their clients, particularly since the ATO apparently sought and received relevant from the South African Revenue Service in the course of their audit investigation.

Australian Tax Office Proposes “Push” Returns

Time for tax conceptIn a speech to the CPA Congress 
in Canberra on 17 October 2013, Tax Office (“ATO”) Second Commissioner Neil Olesen outlined plans for “push” tax returns for Australian individual taxpayers as from 2014. He said:

“The ATO has substantial amounts of information about taxpayers and for those with simple returns, we estimate that on current policy settings we could initially offer a ‘push’ tax return for as many as 1.4 million people, and in fact are aiming to do so next year (2014).

The key principle here is to use the information we already routinely receive about taxpayers affairs (for example, salary and wage income, bank interest, shares and dividends) to send the tax return to the taxpayer, rather than the current way where all we offer is a pre-fill service while still requiring the taxpayer to prepare and lodge a return each year.

In Australia there are some reasons why we could not offer this service widely (eg some complex deductions) but over time and with some careful and creative thinking we think we could effectively liberate around 4.5 million taxpayers from any significant response burden at tax time.”

Interestingly, the Australian Financial Review’s Agnes King reported on 22 October 2013 “Corner store tax agents are confident the federal government’s plans ­to supply 1.4 million people with pre-populated electronic tax returns to which they tick “yes” or “no” will not have a material impact on business.” Read more

Australian Tax Court Uses Documents Improperly Obtained In Breach Of Exchange Of Tax Information Agreement

iStock_000024834312XSmallIn the Australian Federal Court on Tuesday (8 October) Justice Perram allowed the Australian Tax Office (“ATO”) to use documents obtained in apparent breach of the exchange of the Tax Information Agreement (“TIA”) between Australia and the Cayman Islands.

It appears that the Cayman Islands Tax Information Authority (“CITIA”) erroneously provided the ATO with information for tax years prior to the date set as operational for the agreement.

The Australian court’s decision has effectively validated an effective retrospective application of the Cayman’s TIA, at least in this case.

The judgement (in Hua Wang Bank Berhad v Commissioner of Taxation (No 7) [2013] FCA 1024) found that although the Caymans Grand Court had decided on 13 September 2013 that the CITIA decision on 23 February 2011 to provide the information to the ATO should be set aside and the documents should be returned; Read more