In the six years since Project Wickenby began targeting the abuse of offshore tax havens, funds have not only started flowing back into Australia, but community attitude towards tax cheats appears to be shifting.
The vast majority of taxpayers do the right thing and pay their fair share of tax but there will always be those who deliberately seek to avoid their obligations.
In the current climate of economic uncertainty, there is increasing angst about tax cheats and public tolerance towards those deliberately funnelling cash offshore is starting to wane. This shifting attitude is echoed in comments from judges during sentencing in recent criminal prosecutions, such as this remark by a Melbourne judge: 'Your offending diminishes the ability of government to provide for community needs, as well as, it requires and imposes unfair burdens on honest citizens who pay taxes.'
This shift is also being reflected in the media, with coverage becoming increasingly positive. Importantly, it is being made clear that it is not the government who is the victim of tax crime, but the Australian community who rely on the public goods and services provided through a fully functioning revenue system.
It is the goal of the ATO and our partner agencies to ensure tax cheats are brought to account and prevent further evasion. By providing for the long term success of the tax system, we are ensuring an equitable, prosperous society.