In media release No 2013/12, issued 13 June 2013, the ATO warned investors about new and complex tax avoidance schemes being marketed as people get ready to lodge their 2013 tax returns.
"It is important for anyone considering an investment or any other arrangement that will affect their tax liabilities to do their research and seek independent advice," the Commissioner, Chris Jordan said.
Recent schemes have offered people financial security, opportunities of wealth creation and some have attempted to exploit a social or environmental conscience.
In one case, promoters offered an arrangement for people to purchase "emissions" units generated through offshore carbon reduction activities. The scheme involved offshore arrangements with people claiming more than they paid.
"If you are getting back more money than you put in with no risk, and if no real goods or services are being provided, it is likely to be a tax avoidance scheme and could lead to significant tax penalties," Mr Jordan said.