International Family Business Blog

1,200 Australians sign-up for tax amnesty!

As reported in today’s CPA Tax News (23 October 2014) Australia’s Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan, speaking at the CPA Australia Congress in Melbourne last week, provided an update on the ATO's offshore voluntary disclosure initiative, Project DO IT.  

"Mr Jordan noted that more than 1200 people have come forward so far and 700 people have made disclosures of more than $120 million of income and over $700 million in assets. The large volume of individuals coming forward demonstrates that people are taking advantage of this unique opportunity to do the right thing.

Only 8 weeks remain for Australian taxpayers to take advantage of this last chance amnesty.

Australia’s DoIt Tax Amnesty - Last 8 weeks!

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has warned that it’s Project DoIT amnesty for the disclosure of unreported offshore income will not be repeated.

The ATO says-

"Now is the time to take the ATO up on its offer to come in from the cold and disclose offshore income as part of Project DO IT.

Make no mistake; this is the last time the ATO will make an offer like this. Those with offshore income who don’t come forward run the very serious risk of being exposed once the 19 December deadline expires. They then face the real prospect of having to deal with the full ramifications of the law – including criminal investigation and prosecution. So speak to your tax adviser, or speak to us at the ATO if you are unsure about your position."

You can watch a video of a discussion with ATO officials and two leading tax advisers (Lawyers Mark Liebler of Arnold Bloch Liebler and Michael Bersten of Price Waterhouse Coopers)-

We agree with Mark and Michael that this is a very good deal and most probably the last chance taxpayers will have of “coming clean” with the least emotional and financial pain. 

The amnesty ends on 19 December 2014, so taxpayers need to take urgent action to discuss with an independent adviser so that they can be best placed to put their case before the ATO. Time is running out. 

The ATO has such a broad degree of power to investigate and an incredible depth of resources to call upon, that taxpayers who do not elect to claim amnesty are almost certain to be discovered within a few years. That will involve a very high degree of financial penalty and the likely prospect of criminal charges.

If you need an independent view, call us for an appointment. We work with lawyers who are well experienced in protecting taxpayer interests in this area.

Is your tax scheme “too good to be true”?

The Australian Tax Office’s recent cartoon video warns against dodgy tax schemes and recommends getting an independent opinion if you are offered an “investment opportunity” with tax benefits that look “too good to be true". The ATO says- 

"There are ways to minimise tax, as long as it's done lawfully. If you're not sure of a tax investment offered to you by anyone, make sure you get advice."

The “Get a second opinion” video can be watched here-

New Premium Investor Visa (SIV)

The Australian Government will add a new Premium SIV to the current Business Innovation and Investment, Business Talent and Investor Retirement visas.

The Premium Investor Visa details were included in a joint announcement today by the Prime Minister, Minister for Trade and Investment and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.

The new visa (to be introduced from July 2015) will “…offer a more expeditious, 12 month pathway to permanent residency … for those meeting a $15 million threshold”.

More details are expected to be announced shortly.

Australian Tax Office BEPS “progress report”

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 undertake this work. (Emphasis added)

The program is now in its first full year after setup and we continue to focus on companies that have undertaken international restructures or have significant levels of cross-border related party arrangements.

We are currently investigating 86 multinationals over their tax planning arrangements. (Emphasis added) Based on intelligence gathered from risk filters and early profiling work, we have seen trends in key ratios and overall financial outcomes that have raised some concerns for us. This is particularly apparent where those trends are inconsistent with broader industry performance.”

The full text of Deputy Commissioner Konza’s speech can be found on the ATO website at-

Residency Visa Schemes - eBook Released

The group have released the first edition of their eBook “Residency Visa Schemes: What you need to know”. Fifteen countries feature in the first edition.

We authored the Australian the Australian chapter, which we hope to improve as readers of the eBook (especially the Australian chapter) provide feedback. You can provide us feedback at -

Each chapter of the eBook provides a country overview, an explanation of what visa/s are available, a profile of the author/representative and a description of their company’s services.

You can download a copy of the eBook here- Residency-Visa-Schemes-TaxLinked-net-©-2014.pdf

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