• Assistant Treasurer's message

    A community approach to fighting international tax crime and evasion

    The Hon Bill Shorten MP

    Each year the Australian community misses out on billions of dollars in revenue at the expense of a small minority who shirk their responsibilities by hiding their wealth in tax havens.

    The impact on the community is significant: less money to spend on essential services like health and education, and an uneven playing field that disadvantages those who do the right thing.

    Fortunately, we are seeing a deepening level of cooperation among tax administrations around the world, as well as a growing recognition that we can't work in isolation in order to respond effectively to the increasingly global nature of tax crime and evasion.

    Furthermore, we are seeing tax administrations known for strict banking and entity secrecy lifting the veil on their jurisdictions and committing to principles of transparency and exchange of information.

    Australia has now signed 30 tax information exchange agreements and continues to actively pursue further agreements. In the last six months we have signed agreements with Liechtenstein, Costa Rica and Macau.

    The continued pursuit of these agreements means that there are fewer places available for would-be tax avoiders to hide their assets and income.

    With more pieces being added to the puzzle of international tax affairs, a more complete picture is beginning to emerge. This picture is one of a civilised society where the tax system is seen as a community asset, something we all need to work hard to protect.

    The Hon Bill Shorten MP
    Assistant Treasurer
    Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation

      Last modified: 20 Mar 2012QC 28265