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Tax crackdown nets $313 million in 2008-09



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TAX CRACKDOWN NETS $313 MILLION IN 2008-09

Two high-profile tax crackdowns have this past financial year raised more than $313 million in tax liabilities and penalties against tax cheats the Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry, has announced today.

Project Wickenby targets a range of tax avoidance schemes, including the use of offshore tax havens.

"Phoenix" companies are those which deliberately go into liquidation to avoid tax and other responsibilities, such as superannuation payments and service leave entitlements owed to employees. They then re-emerge as another corporate entity, but with largely the same management.

During the year ended 30 June 2009:

z Wickenby raised $230 million in tax liabilities and collected $40 million in cash. In

addition Wickenby collected $159 million in tax collected in subsequent years from people who have been subject to Wickenby action.

z Targeting of phoenix practices also raised more than $83 million in tax and penalties

within Australia.

Project to date, Wickenby has raised $406 million in tax liabilities and collected $117 million in cash. In addition $235 million in tax has been collected in subsequent years from people who have been subject to Wickenby action. Wickenby agencies have also been responsible for restraining $76 million of assets under proceeds of crime legislation.

These audit results and other key details in the fight against tax crime are contained in a new online magazine published by the Australian Taxation Office today.

'Targeting Tax Crime' highlights the whole-of-government approach against tax abuse, both overseas and domestically.

"The tentacles of tax crime reach around the globe - and the Australian Government is at the forefront of international efforts against these illegal and immoral practices," the Assistant Treasurer said.

"We strongly support the OECD global effort to fight tax crime and are taking a lead role in this mission within the G20 process."

"The OECD estimates up to $7 trillion dollars in global assets are now held 'offshore' in tax havens, threatening government revenues and the integrity of the international financial system."

Media Release of 22/07/2009

Page 1 of 2 Press Release - Tax Crackdown Nets $313 Million In 2008-09 [22/07/2009]

"Tax avoiders involved in phoenix operations also deny vital funds to Australian public services and even cheat employees of wages, superannuation and other entitlements."

"The Rudd Government is committed to safeguarding the tax system for the benefit of all Australians and is determined to crack down on cheats."

"We are providing significant funding for this whole-of-government approach against tax abuse."

"The Rudd Government boosted the fight against tax crime in the Budget, with $122 million extra funding for Project Wickenby investigations over the next three years."

"I have recently returned from the United States, where my official talks were dominated by the problem of tax abuse and the need for greater cooperation to fight it."

"In the next few months, the world's key leaders will again convene at the G20 and the Prime Minister will continue the global push to crack down on tax abuse and tax havens," the Assistant Treasurer said.

Targeting tax crime is available at www.ato.gov.au/targetingtaxcrime

CANBERRA 22 July 2009

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