In a media release issued on 30 November 2009, the Commissioner, Michael D’Ascenzo, said the net is closing on tax havens, as he announced a new offer for people who may not have declared all income from offshore activities. This is a chance for people with undeclared income, for example interest earned offshore, to contact the ATO and sort out their affairs. The offer is open until 30 June 2010.
The ATO made a similar offer in 2007. Compared to 2007, the new offer increases the shortfall penalty from 5% to 10% where a person’s additional income from offshore activities is more than $20,000 in a tax year. Those with additional taxable income of $20,000 or less in a tax year will not have to pay a shortfall penalty for that year. This remains unchanged from the previous initiative.
“Tax advisers have told us many of their clients with undisclosed foreign income want to come forward to set things right, but are concerned about the consequences of doing so - particularly the potential for criminal investigation,” Mr D’Ascenzo said. “People can now approach us anonymously for an indication of whether we would initiate an investigation to determine whether there is a potential breach of the criminal law. In making this decision, we will often seek advice from an appropriately qualified panel which will include external members."
For a copy of the ATO media release, No 2009/63, 30 November 2009, go here
For more information about making an offshore voluntary disclosure, go here
For Offshore voluntary disclosure - frequently asked questions, go here
For broadcast message sent to tax agents, 30 November 2009, go here
For Project Wickenby developments, go here