Commissioner's Message

Michael D'Ascenzo

Organised crime has a long history - crossing boundaries, classes, genders and subcultures. It is lucrative, insidious and notoriously difficult to uproot.

The Australian community feels the impact of organised crime in lost business and tax revenue, faltering economic confidence, added expenditure on services such as law enforcement, regulatory effort, health and education, not to mention the damage caused to communities, families and individuals.

The age of rising technological sophistication and globalisation has seen a change in the nature of organised crime. Organised crime now has better channels, and easier methods of laundering illegal income. Criminal networks tend to be highly interconnected, and usually with international links.

In response, there has been a push across government to find new and better ways of working collaboratively to deal with organised crime.

While not an obvious choice, organisations like the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) are playing an increasingly important role in working with law enforcement agencies. Within the boundaries of the law, we share valuable intelligence and data with law enforcement agencies that helps them track down criminals and hold them accountable.

Our work with the law enforcement agencies is part and parcel of our role as administrator of the tax system - it is about supporting the civic and legal responsibilities of citizenship.

The ATO is proud to be an active participant in whole-of-government approaches to deterring and cracking down on organised crime. The Commonwealth Organised Crime Strategic Framework provides us with a clear opportunity and responsibility to bring our resources and specialisations to bear on the problem. Legislative changes since the 1980s have allowed us to disclose information to and participate in joint taskforces with law enforcement agencies.

In this edition of Targeting Tax Crime we take a close look at organised crime and the impact it has, not just on the tax system, but on the Australian community. We will hear how we work with other government departments to tackle organised crime, as well as learn about the work going on in other agencies and internationally. We will also be joined by some guest commentators who will discuss their views on tax avoidance and the sentencing of white collar criminals.

Finally, in order to make it easier for you to access future editions of Targeting Tax Crime we are introducing a subscription service which I encourage you to use.

Michael D'Ascenzo - signature

Michael D'Ascenzo
Commissioner of Taxation

    Last modified: 20 Mar 2012QC 28265