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On 10 April 2008, the ATO issued Taxpayer Alert TA 2008/6, entitled "Claiming tax deductions for debts from a previous tax planning scheme that are forgiven or where repayments are refunded".

The Taxpayer Alert describes arrangements whereby taxpayers involved in a previous tax avoidance scheme enter into an arrangement under which they purport to be able to claim a tax deduction for debts relating to that scheme that have been forgiven or where repayments of the debt are refunded.

In a media release issued the same day, the Commissioner, Michael D’Ascenzo, warned taxpayers about the scheme and urged taxpayers who may be contemplating entered into such arrangements to be cautious. He said the ATO is concerned that these types of arrangements raise serious issues both for taxpayers who may enter into the arrangements as well as those who may be involved with the promotion of the arrangements. “There may be serious implications for taxpayers who enter into these arrangements. These could include significant penalties of 50% or even 75% of the tax underpaid and possible sanctions under the criminal law,” the Commissioner said.

For a copy of TA 2008/6, go here

For a copy of the ATO media release, No 2008/17, 10 April 2008, go here

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