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Directors beware - The expansion of the director penalty regime


The federal government’s policy of strengthening the existing framework between directors in their personal capacity and the tax and corporate law obligations of the companies they represent is reflected in two amending Bills introduced into parliament in October 2011 and the announcement in April this year of proposed amendments to increase the scope of the director penalty regime. Although the Bills reflect the government’s intention to target “phoenix activity”, the amendments will apply to all company directors (not only those involved in phoenix activity) and will increase the scope for directors to be personally liable for the tax failings or oversights of their companies. The proposed amendments are in addition to the existing director penalty regime.

This article outlines the existing regime regarding directors’ liabilities in respect of their companies’ tax obligations, and highlights recent developments and proposed amendments to the director penalty regime.

Author profiles

Ashley King CTA
Ashley is a Partner in the Tax Controversy team at PwC. He focusses on strategic resolution of tax disputes. Ashley has over 25 years tax experience including 20 years with the ATO. Ashley was one of the youngest tax officers to have been promoted to assistant commissioner in the ATO in 2001, and was senior assistant commissioner for Large Business and International Tax division when he left the ATO to join PwC in 2007. Ashley recognises that attempting to resolve tax disputes comes with its technical complexities. By combining his extensive ATO experience and his insight into contemporary ADR processes, Ashley has been instrumental in advising many clients in negotiating complex tax dispute settlements. He has also successfully assisted many clients in defending their tax positions, including through obtaining positive ATO rulings. - Current at 29 October 2014
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Tom Lickess ATI
Tom is a Account Director, Tax Controversy, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. - Current at 01 June 2014
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