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ATO Explains 'Paradise Papers' Response

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

06 November 2017

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has said that it has begun analyzing the Paradise Papers to identify possible Australian links.

The so-called Paradise Papers involve the leak of 13.4m files, shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Much of the data focuses on the dealings of law firm Appleby.

The ATO explained that it had been working closely for several months with its partner agencies in Australia and overseas in anticipation of a data release by the ICIJ.

ATO Deputy Commissioner International Mark Konza said that he is "confident the ATO is in a position to respond decisively to this data release." He added: "we investigate all leads and have the resources and expertise to take action against taxpayers or intermediaries found to be caught-up in the illegal use of offshore structures or providers."

Konza said that the ATO is working with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the Australian Federal Police, and AUSTRAC. Konza said this work is enabling the ATO to "further cross-check data and build our intelligence base, undertake audits, apply significant tax penalties where appropriate, and refer cases to the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce for criminal investigation."

Konza added that the Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) "is already collaborating within existing legal frameworks" following a statement by Appleby last month. He said that JITSIC member countries will "work together to pool resources and share intelligence to rapidly develop a more accurate picture of what the data is telling us."

Konza said that the ATO anticipates that further data may be published by the ICIJ, and that the ATO will continue to work with other tax administrations to share intelligence on advisers operating globally.

TAGS: compliance | tax | tax compliance | tax avoidance | law | audit | Australia | tax authority | offshore | penalties | Tax | Tax Evasion | BEPS

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