Author: Peter Collins and David Earl (PwC Australia)
The Australian Commissioner of Taxation has announced a last
chance opportunity for taxpayers with undisclosed offshore income, capital
gains or over-claimed tax deductions relating to foreign income to voluntarily
disclose their offshore arrangements to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
are unprecedented benefits of the amnesty being offered to eligible taxpayers
including, for example:
Tax being assessed only for the last four
years (as opposed to an unlimited period of review in cases of fraud and
Penalties being capped at 10% (compared to
penalties of up to 75%).
Voluntary disclosures will not be investigated
for the purposes of criminal prosecution, nor will they be
referred to any other Australian law enforcement agency.
Certainty being provided to taxpayers in
the tax treatment of their offshore arrangements.
being provided with the ability to enter into a binding Deed of Settlement with
the Commissioner to provide certainty regarding the future tax
treatment of offshore arrangements.
certain circumstances, taxpayers have been declared ineligible from
participating in the amnesty.
The international tax environment is changing and
Australia now has greater access to offshore information. In this environment
of increased global transparency and information sharing, the message
is clear - this amnesty provides the last chance for taxpayers
to voluntarily disclose their offshore affairs to the ATO.
Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.