Serious Financial Crime Taskforce targets GST ‘exploitation’

The Serious Financial Crime Taskforce, which includes the ATO and the Australian Federal Police, has announced it is targeting “sophisticated arrangements” seeking to exploit GST rules in relation to certain investments.

In particular, taskforce agencies will narrow in on sophisticated schemes, identifying those manipulating GST rules in relation to precious metals, which are becoming increasingly popular in this low-interest rate environment.

Agencies in the taskforce, which also include the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, ASIC and the Australian Border Force, are seeing sophisticated arrangements that attempt to obscure transactions of recycled ‘investment form’ precious metals.

Professionals should be on alert for those included in the precious metals GST exploitation, with the taskforce targeting networks of industry participants who often have dealings with the financial services community.

“We believe there are groups or networks of industry participants, including refiners, bullion dealers, gold kiosks, dealers and buyers within established supply chains involved in gold recycling (or carousel-type) arrangements, seeking to exploit the GST rules in relation to precious metals,” the taskforce stated.

“These artificial arrangements are established to obtain a benefit from the tax system of which there is no entitlement and are tax crimes.”

Data matching and analytics will be used to identify GST fraud in the industry, as well as following up on referrals of the same nature.

The taskforce warned that the advanced surveillance systems available to government agencies mean that perpetrators of carousel-type arrangements “will be identified and dealt with using the full force of the law”.

“We are targeting schemes that exploit GST rules and where there is fraud we will use the full force of the law to deal with those involved,” said ATO deputy commissioner Michael Cranston.

“Through the taskforce we draw on the strengths of partner agencies to bring perpetrators of serious financial crime to justice.”

 

 

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