Australia Mulls Offshore Tax Amnesty

January 21, 2014 Taxation in Australia

Tax Amnesty AustraliaCANBERRA – During the current year the government of Australia intends to open a disclosure program for declaring foreign assets.

In an interview on January 20th given by an official representative of the Australian Tax Office to the Australian Financial Review, it was confirmed that the government is continuing to work towards the possible implementation later this year of an offshore disclosure initiative, which will allow national taxpayers to declare funds and assets previously hidden overseas, in exchange for significantly lowered penalties.

The chance that such a program could be announced in 2014 was first mentioned by tax commissioner Chris Jordan earlier last year, however, at the time, he gave no details, and the latest interview is the first official mention of the scheme since then.

The interview sparked immediate and wide-ranged discussion in the Australian mass media, and some tax experts have already suggested that if the proposed program is approved, then it will be operated similarly to previous disclosure initiatives, i.e. penalty reductions will only apply to offenses committed only during the last four years; the program will only operate for only a few months; and any people participating in financial crimes will be barred from participating in the scheme.

Photo by: Martin Howard