This edition of Targeting Tax Crime focuses on the work we do both here and overseas to protect Australia's tax and superannuation systems.
While the global financial downturn continues to be a challenge for revenue authorities and taxpayers, it has brought with it unprecedented opportunities for international cooperation and standard setting.
Countries that have previously been highly secretive in their banking and financial practices are committing to greater transparency and exchange of information - largely as a result of sustained pressure from the international community.
On the Australian front, this means the net is closing on the few who continue to avoid their tax obligations. Greater access to overseas banking information, combined with improvements in the way we work with our partner agencies, such as the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, means their chances of being caught are higher than ever.
For some time now we have offered people an opportunity to come forward and voluntarily disclose any undisclosed income from offshore activities. People who do so before they are the subject of an audit, and make full and true disclosures, will have reduced penalties.
We are currently reviewing this offer including talking to key industry stakeholders. When we have done our analysis we will provide more information however, if we decide to revise the offer it is likely that it will be less concessionary.
If you were thinking of putting things off, don't wait. I urge people to review their tax affairs and if they have undisclosed income to contact us before we contact them.
Meanwhile, the risk of being caught for dealing in the cash economy, failing to pay excise or illegal access to superannuation has significantly increased with greater inter-agency cooperation and intelligence gathering.
In short, the ATO and its partner agencies are better equipped than ever to detect tax and superannuation crime both here and overseas.
I strongly urge those involved in dodgy tax practices to come forward and make a full and complete disclosure. We will treat you fairly.
Commissioner of Taxation