Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Australian tax office pushing for enhanced powers to tackle tax evasion

The Australian press is reporting today that the team behind Project Wickenby, an extended multi-agency crackdown on tax evasion, has called for fresh powers to combat abuse involving secrecy jurisdictions. These powers include enhanced information exchange, a wider definition of the range of predicate crimes defined under anti-money laundering laws, more extensive use of telecommunications interception powers, and stronger measures for international debt recovery.

Since being launched in 2006, Project Wickenby has investigated 62 cases involving serious tax avoidance, money laundering and fraud. Over A$1.18 billion of tax liabilities have been raised.

According to The Age, the Tax Office is now proposing to use the new measures to carry forward its anti-evasion drive beyond the scheduled completion of Project Wickenby in 2013, and the multi-agency approach is being sustained:
"The Tax Office has been working with the Australian Crime Commission, Australian Federal Police, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the anti-money laundering agency AUSTRAC and the departments of the Treasury, Attorney-General and Immigration and Citizenship to develop tax reform proposals."

The proposed new measures are expected to be considered by the federal government this year.

Hat tip: Dr Mark Zirnsak, Uniting Churches of Australia

See our recent blog post on Project Wickenby here.


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