3 May 2016

A new Tax Avoidance Taskforce


Joint media release with
the Hon. Kelly O’Dwyer MP
Assistant Treasurer

The Turnbull Government will establish a new Tax Avoidance Taskforce to crack-down on multinational tax avoidance and secure revenue for the Australian community.

The Government will provide the ATO with $679m for the Taskforce over four years to strengthen efforts to ensure that multinational companies, private companies and high wealth individuals pay the right amount of tax. The Taskforce shall be a single, targeted program accountable to Government.

The Taskforce will have around 1,300 jobs in the ATO, including 390 new specialised officers.

The Tax Avoidance Taskforce will be led directly by the ATO Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan, and gives the Commissioner significant new resources to, secure more revenue for the Australian community and bring tax cheats to account.

The Commissioner will provide regular progress reports to Government to provide transparency to the community, with the first report to be provided before the end of the year.

The Government is providing international leadership in its approach to cracking down on multinational tax avoidance. The regular reports the ATO shall provide will give confidence to the public that the work underway in Australia is ensuring multinationals and high wealth individuals are paying the right amount of tax.

External experts will be appointed to play a critical role in supporting the Taskforce, including the formation of a panel of eminent former Judges. This panel will review any proposed settlement arrangements to ensure they are fair and appropriate.

Funding will be provided to increase the ATO’s specialist audit and investigation teams dedicated to addressing international tax risks and focusing on high wealth individuals, trusts and tax scheme promoters.

Those seeking to do the wrong thing will be left with no doubt that deliberate tax avoidance and evasion will not be tolerated. Tax cheats will be tracked down and will face the full force of the law. It will put money back into the system and into the community while also deterring people from entering into aggressive tax planning arrangements.

The Taskforce is expected to raise more than $3.7 billion in tax liabilities between now and July 2020.

The Government has already shown our commitment to dealing with tax crime. Last year the Government committed $127.6 million (from 2015-16) to fund a Serious Financial Crime Taskforce. Since the commencement of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce in July 2015, over $110 million in liabilities has been raised. The ATO’s involvement in this cross-agency Serious Financial Crime initiative will complement the work of the new Taskforce announced today.

The new Tax Avoidance Taskforce also builds upon the strong action taking by the Turnbull Government last year, including implementation of:

  • The Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law to stop multinationals artificially avoiding a taxable presence in Australia;
  • A new penalty regime that doubles the penalties for multinationals caught avoiding tax; and
  • A new Country-by-Country Reporting regime to give the ATO greater access to the global profit and tax information of multinationals.

The Taskforce will work closely with its partner agencies including the Australian Crime Commission, the AFP and the AUSTRAC. New legislation will be introduced allowing the ATO to improve information sharing and analysis with ASIC which will lead to a more efficient approach to dealing with tax crime.

The Taskforce gives the Commissioner even more capacity to secure more revenue for the Australian community and ensure individuals and companies are paying the right amount of tax to support the services Australians need.