Category: Australia

High Court confirms ATO can use information from data leaks

Today the High Court confirmed that the ATO may use information obtained from data leaks, even if leaked from a law firm. Second Commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn said today’s decision in Glencore International v. Commissioner of Taxation means the ATO can continue to use the ‘Paradise Papers’ and other similar data… – Continue reading

Taiwan to join anti-tax evasion program CRS

Taiwan expected to share financial information with Japan and Australia in 2020 TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan is expected to exchange financial information with a number of countries in September of next year as part of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) program designed to combat tax evasion. Developed by the… – Continue reading

Tax chiefs unite to tackle international tax crime

HMRC has formed an alliance with tax enforcement bodies in 4 countries to share intelligence and expertise in the battle against international tax crime. The UK has joined forces with Canada, the Netherlands, the United States and Australia to launch the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) – a… – Continue reading

Ending secret identities is the ‘new frontier’ in fighting tax evasion: OECD’s head of tax Pascal Saint-Amans

Revealing the secret identifies behind shell companies and opaque trusts is the “new frontier” in fighting tax evasion, says the OECD’s head of tax Pascal Saint-Amans. In an exclusive interview with Fairfax Media, Mr Saint-Amans also spoke about the Turnbull government’s tougher domestic laws aimed at cracking down on multinational… – Continue reading

What happens if you are from the UK or own assets in the UK?

Beware of the dreaded inheritance tax and changes to it from April 2017! Approximately 1.3 million Britons now live in Australia and Brexit may only increase this number! Many think that moving to Australia means they no longer need to worry about UK tax, but often they are not fully… – Continue reading

Microsoft agrees to more transparency on taxes in Australia

The Australian government is one of the most aggressive in highlighting the issue of multinational corporations avoiding taxes through extensive use of tax havens. Microsoft’s Australian subsidiary will start disclosing the amount of tax it pays in Australia, opting in to a government-transparency program aimed at shedding light on the… – Continue reading

CANADA, ISRAEL SIGN AGREEMENT ON DOUBLE TAXATION

CANADA, ISRAEL SIGN AGREEMENT ON DOUBLE TAXATION As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined other world leaders in addressing the United Nations General Assembly, behind the glare of the camera lights, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion met with Israel’s Finance Minster Moshe Kahlon on the sidelines to sign an agreement to… – Continue reading

Panama Papers: Further revelations about New Zealand’s role as a tax haven

Reports published last week, based on the Panama Papers, cast further light on New Zealand’s role as a location where wealthy individuals around the world are able to hide their fortunes. Last month the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released millions of leaked documents revealing that Panama-based Mossack Fonseca, the… – Continue reading

Foreign investors risk Australian assets in Morrison crackdown as new tax rules apply

FOREIGN investors could be stripped of their Australian assets if found to have deliberately shifted profits offshore to avoid paying tax. For the first time new tax rules will be imposed on large multinational companies buying into Australia, forcing them to either pay tax on their local earnings or pack… – Continue reading

Cayman’s offshore banking sector shrinking

A major sector of the banking industry in the Caymans could be wiped out by tough regulations designed to fight money-laundering. The number of Class B banks registered with the islands’ regulator has fallen by 14 to 184 over the last year alone. Class B banks generally offer depository services… – Continue reading

Wayne Swan: Tax avoidance impoverishes us all. Fighting it requires challenging the powerful

few days before Christmas, in the full light of an Australian summer, the Australian tax commissioner published the tax details of 1,500 large corporate taxpayers which showed a staggering one-third of these companies paid no tax in 2014. This transparency measure was part of a wider package of ground-breaking legislation… – Continue reading

China suspends forex business for some foreign banks: sources

China’s central bank has suspended at least three foreign banks from conducting some foreign exchange business until the end of March, three sources who had seen the suspension notices told Reuters on Wednesday. Included among the suspended services are liquidation of spot positions for clients and some other activities related… – Continue reading

Australia: Country-by-country reporting, public disclosure, other transparency measures passed

Australia’s Parliament on 2 December 2015 concluded legislative action for this calendar year, with the following outcomes in respect of a number of major tax developments:  The multinational anti-avoidance rule—Australia’s “de facto” diverted profits tax regime—was passed by Parliament. There are two amendments that: (1) require the Australian businesses of… – Continue reading

ATO Using School Data to Catch Tax Evaders

CANBERRA – School rolls are the latest weapon employed by Australian tax authorities in their fight against tax evaders. More than 100 households in Australia will be investigated by the Australian Tax Office in the near future, after authorities obtained information from several private schools about the payment of school… – Continue reading

Australia Legislates For Common Reporting Standard

The Australian Government has introduced legislation to implement the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD’s) Common Reporting Standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information. Treasurer Scott Morrison said: “The Standard will assist the tax office to crack down on taxpayers hiding funds and investments offshore in order… – Continue reading

Australia Launches Consultation On Anti-Hybrid Rules

The Australian Board of Taxation has released for public comment a discussion paper on the implementation of the anti-hybrid rules developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As part of the 2015 Budget, on May 12, 2015, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey wrote to Michael Andrew, Chair of… – Continue reading

Switzerland: The Free Flow Of Data

Switzerland is on its way towards the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI). The AEOI will lead to the transmission of sets of data from a reporting financial institution (e.g. a bank) to the domestic tax authority. The domestic tax authority will have to exchange such data with the respective foreign… – Continue reading

Six ways the ATO uses data to catch tax-dodgers

How analytics will nab cheaters. Tomorrow is the Australian Taxation Office’s official cutoff for 2014-15 personal tax returns. Will you be tempted to tell fibs about your income? How will the tax man ever know? Take note: it may already know – or at least can find out – a… – Continue reading

Quarter of businesses to miss BEPS deadline

A quarter of companies say they won’t meet the first deadline proposed by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) action plan, reports Economia. Globally, 74 per cent said they will complete their country-by-country analysis by the first due date, December… – Continue reading

Isle of Man: US FATCA Information Exchange Put Back A Year

In a move which is likely to be of interest to those organisations who put systems and procedures in place to comply, the US has recently announced (September 2015) that information on US persons does not now need to be exchanged for certain jurisdictions until September 2016. In Notice 2015-66… – Continue reading

Senior lawyer suggests simple solution to anti-money laundering law arbitrage opportunity, says judgment against FMA well constructed and logical

The four entities tasked with upholding New Zealand’s anti-money laundering law should team up to close off the law’s obvious arbitrage opportunity by stopping financial services companies that only have clients overseas from being able to sidestep the law, a leading lawyer says. As first highlighted by interest.co.nz in August… – Continue reading

US Signs Competent Authority Agreements With UK, Australia

The Internal Revenue Service has entered into landmark Competent Authority Agreements with authorities in Australia and the United Kingdom to support the implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The US has signed FATCA intergovernmental agreements with both of these nations. Each of these agreements provides that Competent… – Continue reading

Dividend imputation has changed how NZ corporates deliver returns to shareholders, says EY. Will Australia’s reconsideration of the system affect us?

Content supplied by EY New Zealand is one of only a few countries with a dividend imputation regime. Introduced in 1988, New Zealand’s imputation regime removes double taxation on distributions by attributing to shareholders a credit for the tax borne on profits at the company level. Benefits include a single… – Continue reading

BHP Billiton warns of backlash over any Australian tax-grab policies

BHP Billiton has warned any move by Australia to single-handedly combat corporate profit shifting could spark a backlash from other nations that is likely to ultimately harm local companies. Finance director Peter Beaven says while action on so-called base erosion and profit shifting is needed, it must be part of… – Continue reading

Chevron tax filings challenged by US tax authorities, report says

Chevron’s tax filings face repeated challenges from the United States and other global tax authorities, according to a new union-backed report that calls on world governments to crack down on the energy giant’s alleged profit-shifting tactics. The world’s largest trade union body, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), has called… – Continue reading

Tax avoidance crackdown: 1000 multinationals face tax squeeze under new rules

‘I’m not going to buy into that’ Joe Hockey refuses to feed speculation that he could be replaced as Treasurer by Scott Morrison under the new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull’s first full day as PM: Live coverage Joe Hockey signals he’s ready to serve on Malcolm Turnbull’s frontbench… – Continue reading

Timothy Charles Pratten found guilty of fraud, hiding millions from the ATO

Fraudster Timothy Charles Pratten has been found guilty on seven counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception, in the Supreme Court of NSW in Sydney this week. Justice Stephen Rothman found Pratten, A 55-year-old insurance broker, failed to properly declare income of more than $5 million between 2003 and… – Continue reading

Country-By-Country Reporting: The Transfer Pricing Game-Changer

This month’s feature examines proposals for new tax information reporting requirements for large multinational businesses as part of wider and ongoing changes to the international tax system – proposals which have been described by international tax experts as the most significant development in the field of transfer pricing since TP… – Continue reading

Ireland making ‘little or no’ effort to curb corruption – report

Ireland has made “little or no” effort over the past four years to create a corruption-free playing field for global trade, violating its “obligation to combat cross-border bribery”, reports the Irish Times. The Transparency International Exporting Corruption report, released on Thursday, found that Ireland, along with countries such as Russia,… – Continue reading

Ministers of Finance of the German speaking European countries are due to discuss (international) tax matters during their next annual meeting

On August 21, 2015 the Government of Liechtenstein issued a press release announcing that the Austrian Minister of Finance (Hans Jörg Schelling) has invited his German (Wolfang Schäuble), Swiss (Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf), Luxembourg (Pierre Gramegna) and Liechtenstein (Adrian Hasler) counterparts for the annual meeting of Ministers of Finance of the German… – Continue reading

Australian Committee On Tax Avoidance Issues Interim Report

The Australian Senate inquiry into tax avoidance has released its interim report, which makes 17 recommendations, including the introduction of a mandatory tax reporting code. The Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance was referred to the Economics References Committee in October 2014. The first hearing was conducted in April 2015,… – Continue reading

Julie Bishop vows to get tough on Papua New Guinea money laundering

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has promised that Australia will not be “a safe haven for the proceeds of corruption” in Papua New Guinea, as police in both countries probe the role of Australian lawyers there. Ms Bishop’s intervention and the police probes were triggered by explosive video footage that… – Continue reading

Corrupt Chinese Government Officials Flee To Australia Amid Hesitation To Extradite Criminals

Chinese emigration continues to grow as the nation becomes increasingly wealthy. However, a handful of those leaving the country are wanted financial criminals, and they are heading to all corners of the world. While the United States and Canada continue to be popular destinations for corrupt Chinese on the run,… – Continue reading

Wall of Chinese capital buying up Australian properties

The “wall of Chinese capital” hitting property markets in Sydney and Melbourne will not ease up until the government introduces its anti-money laundering legislation, says an expert in ‘flight capital’. James Tee, an ethnic Chinese property developer whose business specialises in “capital expatriation” – that is, getting money out of… – Continue reading

Australia reaches tax loophole crackdown deal with UK

Summary:Australia and the UK have reached a deal aimed at helping tackle profit-shifting practices by multinational companies, such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Australia and the United Kingdom have agreed to form a joint working group to tackle profit shifting by multinational companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft. The… – Continue reading

UK, Australia To Push Diverted Profits Taxes

UK Chancellor George Osborne and Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey have committed to establishing a working group to urgently consider and develop initiatives centered around the UK’s Diverted Profits Tax. The announcement was made at the Group of Twenty (G-20) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting, which was held in… – Continue reading

Australia must break the shackles of intellectual property in FTAs

Last week some of Australia’s biggest and richest companies voluntarily fronted up to a senate inquiry on corporate tax avoidance. Bigwigs from big brands, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals, squirmed under the spotlight as they were grilled about how they (legally) shift profits offshore… – Continue reading

Cameron advisor back in Labour’s crosshairs over Malta companies

Claims of using Malta to reduce tax liability ‘malicious and libellous’ – Lynton Crosby British Prime Minister David Cameron’s electoral guru, Australian Lynton Crosby, has rejected a Labour attack on his personal tax affairs as a “made up negative story”. On Thursday the British Labour Party called on Mr Crosby… – Continue reading

Apple, Google Reject ATO’s Tax Avoidance Claims

Apple Australia follows Australian transfer pricing law and pays all of its taxes due in the Australian market in accordance with the law, Tony King, the Managing Director of Apple Australia, told the Senate Inquiry on corporate tax avoidance and minimization on April 8, 2015. In his opening remarks before… – Continue reading

Google, Apple and Microsoft defend tax set-up that shifts revenue offshore

Executives tell Senate inquiry paying tax overseas for Australian sales is how the global tax system works, while News Corp Australia demands Netflix pays GST Senior executives from three major tech firms have defended corporate structures which allow most of the revenue from their Australian operations to be taxed in… – Continue reading