The tax office said that Australia’s commitment to the automatic global exchange of information will mean accessing overseas banking information will become easier and hiding income and assets offshore will become harder.
“Recent developments in exchange of information between countries and improved data matching capability mean there’s nowhere left to hide,” Mr Cranston said.
As part of Project DO IT, the tax office’s initiative to bring offshore income and assets back into Australia’s tax system, taxpayers who voluntarily come forward and disclose before December 19 will only be assessed for the last four years, only be liable for a maximum shortfall penalty of 10 per cent, and will not be referred for criminal investigation.
Deputy commissioner Michael Cranston said close to 1,500 taxpayers have already made the decision to clean up their tax affairs and bring income and assets back into the tax system.
“So far we’ve had disclosures of more than $180 million in previously unreported offshore income and over $1 billion in assets,” Mr Cranston said.
“If you’re looking to voluntarily disclose your offshore income and assets it’s important that you make contact with the ATO before the December 19 deadline,” he said
People who fail to contact the ATO before the deadline will be ineligible for the benefits under Project DO IT and may be subject to compliance action and harsh penalties.
“This really is the last opportunity to come forward, because after December 19 it could prove to be very costly for taxpayers who have not disclosed their offshore income or assets,” Mr Cranston said.