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Government goes soft on tax avoidance schemes.

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Joel Fitzgibbon MP

Shadow Assistant Treasurer Shadow Minister for Revenue Shadow Minister for Small Business and Competition 10 August 2005

Government Goes Soft On Tax Avoidance Schemes

The Government’s draft Bill on tax promoters released today represents a major back down in the fight against tax criminals.

In response to furious lobbying from tax advisers and legal practitioners, the Government has effectively exempted them from the scope of proposed tough penalties to promoters of tax avoidance schemes.

Labor welcomes measures to crack down on tax cheats especially those who make their living from sophisticated attempts to defraud the Commonwealth and taxpayers.

The Bill does not impose penalties on individuals who provide ‘advice about the consequences of entering into’ a tax exploitation scheme, but only on those who encourage or help entities who enter the scheme.

This is a loophole that you could drive a truck through for tax criminals.

It is another example of incompetence of the Howard Government in managing taxation legislation.

The Bill was released confidentially to tax professionals giving them the opportunity to lobby the Government to change the Bill before the Parliament had an opportunity to scrutinise it.

Brough’s attempt to bypass the Parliament is shameful and shows the Government is out of touch with community expectations on cracking down on tax cheats.

Contact: Joel Fitzgibbon 0418 293 372 Brendan Long 0408 421 447 Kelly Lofberg 0417 140 933