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Tax Avoidance Taskforce highlights 2018–19

Outlines progress in the third year of the Tax Avoidance Taskforce, which was 2018–19.

Last updated 12 January 2021

The taskforce has continued to perform strongly in its third year, working effectively to ensure the integrity of the tax system. The ATO's level of influence and action with large businesses and wealthy individuals has increased substantially since the creation of the Tax Avoidance Taskforce.

Since the taskforce commenced in July 2016, the ATO has raised a total of $13.9 billion in tax liabilities and collected $8.2 billion from large public groups and multinational corporations, wealthy individuals and private groups to June 2019.

Taskforce funding has made a real difference to protect the integrity of Australia's tax system by ensuring that money earned in Australia is also taxed here. We continue to encourage and support the development of sound tax governance arrangements by private, public and multinational groups to effectively manage tax risk.

Highlights of the Tax Avoidance Taskforce work for 2018–19 include:

  • Our compliance activities generated $3.4 billion in tax liabilities and we collected $2 billion from large public groups and multinational corporations, wealthy individuals and private groups with the assistance of the taskforce.
  • At the end of June 2019, we had 63 audits covering 59 multinational corporations in progress.There were 694 taxpayers under audit or review as part of our focus on wealthy individuals and associated groups, including trusts and aggressive tax planning.
  • Following the implementation of the multinational anti avoidance legislation (MAAL), we expected around $7 billion in sales to be returned to the Australian tax base. We're seeing around $6.6 billion in sales being booked in Australia now, with another increase expected after 2018–19 company tax return lodgments in 2020.
  • We engaged with over 680 public groups and multinational corporations with a total business income of $540 billion through our assurance work as part of the Top 1,000 public groups tax performance program. Over 530 of these assurances have been finalised.
  • We've continued engaging with 297 large private groups as part of our Top 320 private groups tax performance program. Tax assurance has been provided partially or in full for 185 private groups. This program has been extended to cover the top 500 private groups.

In the April 2019 Budget, the government expanded the focus of the taskforce and extended the program to the end of June 2023. The additional funding means we can expand our efforts to have complete coverage of all large private businesses as well as large, multinational and private businesses with turnover of more than $250 million. We'll also expand our coverage of medium and emerging businesses in both public and private markets, as well as enhance our focus on specialist tax advisors and intermediaries that promote international and domestic tax avoidance schemes and strategies.

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