A "week of action" enacted by the SFCT has led to 15 unannounced access visits in Victoria and Queensland, and the execution of three search warrants following analysis of tax evasion and crime identified in the Panama Papers.
In addition, more than 100 taxpayers will be contacted and advised that they are the subject of compliance action, and further criminal investigations have not been ruled out.
Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, said Australia has led a coordinated response to investigating the data, through the Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan’s role as chair of the Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC).
“This week of action is the result of months of collaboration with domestic agencies to share intelligence and information in relation to individuals named in the data leak,” Ms O'Dwyer said.
“Our authorities have built a profile of more than 1,000 Australian taxpayers identified in the leak, and are reviewing intelligence provided to us by other tax jurisdictions. We have detected taxpayers and advisers linked to tax evasion, illicit funds flows and corruption.”
According to Ms O’Dwyer, while offshore structures and trusts do have a genuine purpose for many individuals and corporations, the government believes that many of these structures are simply being used as vessels to evade tax and avoid corporate responsibility.
The Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, said the reach of serious financial crime is a web that is multi-layered and pervasive.
“To counter this, we need a response that is just as far-reaching and intricate. Through the SFCT, Australia is well placed to deal with this type of behaviour and draw on the strong systems in place to detect and track down those who chose to break the law,” said Mr Keenan.
ASIC is also taking part in the week of action, with a continued focus on gatekeepers including company directors and officers, auditors, insolvency practitioners and business advisers. In particular, it is responding to poor gatekeeper culture and conduct.