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Other tax measures

Establishing the Tax Avoidance Taskforce 

The Government will provide $678.9 million to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) over the forward estimates period of four years to establish a new Tax Avoidance Taskforce which will consist of around 1,300 jobs in the ATO, including 390 new specialised officers. This will enable the ATO to undertake enhanced compliance activities targeting multinationals, large public and private groups and high wealth individuals. 

According to the Treasurer, this measure provides the ATO with a 55 per cent increase in funding for compliance programs targeting multinationals and high wealth individuals, with a 43 per cent increase in resources devoted to tackling multinationals. The Government will also ensure the ATO has access to the information it needs by enhancing information sharing between the ATO and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The Tax Avoidance Taskforce will be led directly by the Commissioner of Taxation who will provide regular progress reports to Government to provide transparency to the community, with the first report to be provided before the end of the year.

In his media statement, the Treasurer states that external experts will be appointed to play a critical role in supporting the Taskforce, including the formation of a panel of eminent former Judges which will review any proposed settlement arrangements to ensure they are fair and appropriate. Additionally the Treasurer has stated that the Taskforce will work closely with its partner agencies including the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Federal Police and AUSTRAC, and that new legislation will be introduced allowing the ATO to improve information sharing and analysis with ASIC which will lead to a more efficient approach to dealing with tax crime.

This increased funding comes at a time when the ATO is keenly focused on international tax risks, as evidenced by the release just last week of four taxpayer alerts dealing with thin capitalisation, implementation of the Multinational Anti Avoidance Law that was legislated last year, arrangements involving related party cross currency swaps, and cross-border leasing arrangements. 

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