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30 Jun 14 ATO steps up data mining program to target offshore tax evaders

The ATO advises that it is mining data to identify individuals with undisclosed offshore income and assets. The new information will be used to encourage people to disclose under Project DO IT, the ATO’s offshore disclosure initiative.

Under Project DO IT, people disclosing their offshore assets will generally be assessed for the last four years, be liable for a maximum shortfall penalty of 10% and full shortfall interest charges, and will not be investigated by the ATO or referred for criminal investigation on the basis of their disclosures.

The ATO will significantly increase its compliance focus by examining data including information from overseas tax authorities on Australians with offshore investments and bank accounts, information from Australian and foreign banks on fund flows, interest and account balances, information from informants about offshore accounts, and money transfers to and from offshore bank accounts.

The ATO says that, to date, the Project DO IT initiative has received significant interest with 166 disclosures raising an additional $13 million in tax liabilities. There have been more than 250 expressions of interest, where taxpayers have identified themselves and said they will be making a disclosure. There have also been more than 600 general enquiries.

Project DO IT closes on 19 December 2014. More information is available here.

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