• Project Wickenby has delivered

    The new Serious Financial Crime Taskforce, which began operating on 1 July 2015, will build on the success of Project Wickenby, which has led to over $2.2 billion in tax liabilities being raised, as well as increased tax collections from improved compliance behaviour following high profile investigations, prosecutions and sentencings.

    The taskforce will continue Project Wickenby's focus on international tax evasion, and will also target other forms of serious financial crime.

    Project Wickenby results

    Compliance activity (audits and risk reviews) up to 30 June 2015

    Tax liabilities raised

    $2.297 billion

    Audits (including reviews) in progress

    55

    Audits (including reviews) completed

    4,520

    Prosecutions

    People charged

    76

    Convictions

    46

    Money recouped

    Cash collections

    Note: Cash collections are reported on a quarterly basis. This figure is current as at the quarter ending June 2015.

    $607.51 million

    Cash collections from people in years subsequent to Project Wickenby action

    $372.60 million

    Other money recouped

    $5.56 million

    Total

    $985.67 million

    On this page:

    Prosecutions and court judgments

    Project Wickenby resulted in 46 criminal convictions up to 30 June 2015 with the courts emphasising the following when making their judgments:

    • the amount of the loss to the public purse
    • the conduct was calculated criminal conduct
    • the offending was planned
    • the offences were caused by greed and not need
    • the need for general and personal deterrence.

    In addition to these 46 convictions, 69 people have been prosecuted for summary offences – which can attract penalties of imprisonment of less than 12 months – with most involving outstanding lodgments.

    Criminal investigations

    The Australian Crime Commission (ACC), Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have all undertaken criminal investigations as part of Project Wickenby.

    Criminal investigations into illegal offshore schemes involving false deductions and concealed income and gains are often complex and can require a lot of time and resources. A single investigation may involve a number of promoters and many intermediaries and participants.

    With extensive resources and sophisticated technology, including data tracking and matching, the task force is successfully bringing tax cheats to justice.

    Criminal investigations from Project Wickenby

    Agency

    Current investigations

    Prosecution stage

    Finalised

    The ACC has:

    • issued 336 notices to obtain evidence
    • issued 479 summonses
    • completed 435 examinations
    • executed 58 search warrants. 

     

    1

    5

    5

    The AFP has:

    • executed 425 search warrants
    • issued 84 notices under proceeds of crime provisions. 

     

    5

    5

    7

    ASIC has:

    • issued 463 notices to obtain evidence
    • completed 103 compulsory examinations
    • executed 2 search warrants
    • conducted 158 interviews. 

     

    2

    0

    5

    ATO

    0

    0

    2

    Total

    8

    10

    19

    See also:

    Tax audits and risk reviews

    In undertaking Project Wickenby audits and reviews, we have:

    • made 111 access visits with notice
    • made 77 access visits without notice
    • issued 3,142 notices to 'furnish information'
    • issued 356 notices to 'attend and give evidence in interviews'
    • issued 3,447 notices of (tax) assessment
    • issued 22 departure prohibition orders, which prevent a person leaving the country without making provision for tax liabilities.

    Ongoing compliance

    Evidence shows Project Wickenby interventions have improved taxpayers’ willingness to comply with their taxation obligations.

    Typically, people who have been investigated by Project Wickenby voluntarily lodge more accurate tax returns and pay more tax than previously.

    As at 30 June 2015, Project Wickenby has recouped $985.67 million of outstanding revenue – against a target of $711.20 million – including:

    • $607.51 million in cash collections
    • $372.60 million attributable to increased voluntary compliance following interventions by the Project Wickenby task force
    • $5.56 million in assets recovered under Commonwealth proceeds of crime provisions.

    Cash collections is the revenue collected by us as a result of Project Wickenby activities.

    Revenue attributed to increased voluntary compliance is the difference between the growth in tax payable by entities (and their associates) that have been investigated by Project Wickenby and the growth in tax payable by comparable taxpayers who have not been investigated.

    Collections under Project Wickenby have consistently outpaced the government's target.

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    See also:

    Last modified: 17 Sep 2015QC 41321