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  • Tax Avoidance Taskforce highlights 2019–20

    The Tax Avoidance Taskforce ensures tax is paid in Australia. Through our work, we audit some of the biggest taxpayers operating in Australia, including multinational enterprises, large public and large private businesses (and associated individuals).

    Through the taskforce, the ATO raised $4.3 billion in liabilities and collected nearly $2.5 billion in cash from audits in the 2019–20 financial year. The taskforce has surpassed its commitment to government in each year since it began. Over the first four years of the taskforce, the ATO has:

    • raised $18.2 billion in liabilities against public groups, multinationals, wealthy individuals and associated private groups (including trusts and promoters)
    • collected over $10.8 billion.

    The response from the large business market has been encouraging. Taxpayers are now seeking to manage and prevent tax risks in their business by adopting robust tax governance arrangements, including proactive and open engagement with the ATO.

    We continue to encourage and support private, public and multinational entities to engage with us early and to effectively manage tax risk.

    Highlights for 2019–20

    Highlights of the Tax Avoidance Taskforce contribution for 2019–20 include:

    • Our compliance activities generated $2.7 billion in tax liabilities and $1.6 billion in audit yield from large public groups and multinational corporations, wealthy individuals and private groups.
    • The multinational anti-avoidance law (MAAL) has been successfully implemented, with the restructures resulting in:
      • more than $8 billion additional taxable sales being booked in Australia
      • an estimated additional $850 million of GST paid
      • an estimated $80 million in business-to-consumer net GST since July 2016.
    • We engaged with over 600 of the largest private groups. Of these, we completed 262 engagements with taxpayers who willingly adopt robust tax governance practices to manage and prevent tax risks. There were 54 Top 500 groups with $7.35 billion tax assured across multiple years.
    • We engaged with over 900 of the Top 1,000 large public groups, with 790 reviews finalised and over 130 reviews in progress.

    Our focus in 2020–21

    During 2020–21, our focus is on specialist large market advisors that promote and implement tax avoidance schemes, and engage in uncooperative, misleading and obstructive behaviour, including the misuse of legal professional privilege (LPP) during our reviews and audits.

    We are developing new best practice guidance for LPP claims and principles for large market advisors, supporting more robust self-governance. Where tax avoidance arrangements are identified, we will issue Taxpayer Alerts to advise taxpayers of our concerns.

    We are continually improving our data, analytics, risk, and intelligence capabilities to identify and manage tax avoidance risk. The significant progress on data accessibility and risk detection services has improved our ability to target compliance work and deliver on taskforce objectives. This work will be expanded over the next three years to deliver cutting edge technology and advanced analytics capabilities to manage and interrogate our extensive data resources.

    See also:

    Last modified: 04 Dec 2020QC 64250