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Australian Offshore Amnesty Reveals AUD1bn In Assets

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nearly 1,500 individuals have disclosed more than AUD180m (USD157.8m) in previously unreported offshore income and over AUD1bn in assets since the Project DO IT amnesty was launched, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has revealed.

The scheme began in April and is scheduled to end on December 19, 2014.

The foreign income included in Project DO IT can relate to offshore accounts, financial investments, tax arrangements, and entities, such as partnerships, trusts or companies. Those taking part will generally be assessed for the last ten years, be liable to a maximum shortfall penalty of ten percent and full shortfall interest charges. They will not be investigated by the ATO or referred for criminal investigation on the basis of their disclosures.

In July, the ATO announced that it was mining data to identify individuals with undisclosed offshore income and assets, which would be used to encourage people to make a disclosure under Project DO IT. At the time, the ATO had received 166 disclosures, raising an additional AUD13m in tax liabilities. There had been more than 250 expressions of interest and more than 600 general inquiries.

Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston advised: "If you're looking to voluntarily disclose your offshore income and assets it's important that you make contact with the ATO by the December 19 deadline. This is the last opportunity to come forward, because after December 19 it could prove very costly for taxpayers who have not disclosed."