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Austria's 'SoKo' To Tackle Offshore Tax Evasion

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

29 May 2013


The Austrian Finance Ministry has set up a special committee ("SoKo Offshore-Leaks"), tasked with evaluating tax evasion data, due to be passed on from the US tax authorities in connection with the offshore leaks project.

Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter intends to cooperate and work with international tax authorities, to collect and analyse data given to the US tax authorities from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Following in-depth analysis, Finance Minister Fekter aims to launch criminal proceedings against any Austrians suspected of having evaded taxes in Austria, by placing their capital in offshore accounts.

Earlier this year, the ICIJ received around 2.5 million confidential documents from an anonymous source, containing details of the tax affairs of 130,000 individuals from over 170 countries.

Following its own examinations, the US tax authorities have begun the process of transferring the information to other authorities. A spokesman from the Austrian Finance Ministry said that the data is to be passed to the UK and to Austria in the first instance, for subsequent distribution in Europe and Asia respectively.

Lead by Eduard Müller, Austria's SoKo is to comprise offshore tax investigators, auditors, and IT experts.

TAGS: individuals | compliance | Finance | Offshore | tax | investment | tax compliance | tax avoidance | audit | Australia | United Kingdom | offshore | Austria | United States | European Union (EU) | Europe

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