Australia has followed in the footsteps of the UK tax authority, by offering an 'amnesty' to people ...
Australia has followed in the footsteps of the UK tax authority, by offering an 'amnesty' to people who have failed to disclose income from offshore banks.
Australia's tax commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo said the initiative involved a number of approaches, including sending a letter to people identified as having an offshore debit or credit card in the offshore jurisdictions of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
He said: "We are increasing our audit activities in cases where people may try to conceal income and assets offshore in tax havens. There is nothing wrong with holding an offshore account or investing overseas as long as you pay any Australian tax due."
The initiative is similar to that recently offered by HM Revenue & Customs in the UK, in that those who contact the tax office and make a voluntary disclosure, before they are the subject of an audit, will have access to reduced penalties.
Those who make an offshore voluntary disclosure and have a taxable income of Aus$20,000 or less, will not have to pay a penalty for that year. Those whose taxable income exceeds $20,000 will face a reduced penalty of 5% of their additional liability. In some cases, people could still face prosecution, and those who make a disclosure will have to pay the primary tax plus interest.
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