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ATO statement regarding Pandora Papers

Last updated 3 October 2021

ATO Deputy Commissioner and Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) Chief Will Day said the ATO regularly receives information from a range of different sources in our efforts to fight tax evasion and crime.

“While the information in data leaks is interesting, we don’t rely on data leaks to do our job. We detect, investigate and deal with offshore tax evasion year-round,” Mr Day said.

The ATO will be analysing the information to identify any possible Australian links.

“We are well connected locally and globally in our efforts to fight financial crime. We will certainly look at this data set and compare it with the data we already have to identify any potential connections,” Mr Day said.

Mr Day said the ATO has strong international partnerships, as well as treaties and agreements, that enable a collaborative approach to identifying and addressing international tax evasion and crime.

The ATO intelligence on tax evasion comes from a variety of sources including the community, advisers, partner agencies and international bodies. Mr Day said it was important to remember that being included in a data leak doesn’t automatically mean that there has been tax evasion or crime.

“There are a range of legitimate reasons that someone may have for an offshore bank account or structure. We know most Australians do the right thing. However, there are some who attempt to hide their ownership interests or financial misdoings through offshore arrangements,” Mr Day said.

Mr Day said staff from the ATO and our partner agencies form an impressive intelligence capability that uncovers crime.

“We have some of the best auditors, investigators, analysts and data scientists in the world who work together to sort the good from the bad, ensuring no stone is left unturned,” Mr Day said.

“The message is clear for those who try to cheat the system – your secrets are no longer safe, and you can expect to feel serious consequences for your actions. No complicated money trail is too difficult for us to unravel.”

“From the very first data leak, we responded quickly through the Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC). JITSIC brings together 42 national tax administrations that have committed to more effective and efficient ways to deal with tax avoidance and evasion.”

JITSIC member countries will continue to work together to pool resources and share intelligence to rapidly develop a more accurate picture of what the data is telling us.

This, coupled with our work through the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce and the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, should give every Australian reassurance that we are well equipped to respond to any so-called data leaks decisively.

The ATO encourages those who may have undeclared offshore income to contact us.