Australia cracks down on tax havens

Mozo

Monday 19 April 2010

The Australian Tax Office has begun a major crackdown on the use of tax havens by high net worth individuals.

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Banks have been asked to report any of their savings accounts customers who have offshore incomes or have taken part in any offshore transactions over the course of the past four years.

The move by the Australian Tax Office is just one aspect of its $550 million two-year initiative aimed at catching out wealthy tax cheats.

Speaking to Radio Australia’s Jemima Garrett, the Pacific Legal Network’s tax specialist Anthony McFarlane said that the information being requested by the Australian Tax Office is extensive.

"They have the power to request [not only] information about bank accounts [and] general financial information, but also information regarding ownership structures of companies, partnerships and trusts," Mr McFarlane said.

Mr McFarlane’s comments follow those made by chief product officer at Westpac Jim Tate, who told a Senate inquiry that banks need to do more to tackle fraud.

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