As previously highlighted in past newsletters, an amnesty concluded on December 19, 2014, granting taxpayers the opportunity to disclose overseas assets they had previously omitted to report to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). At that time, it was emphasised that this represented taxpayers’ final opportunity to disclose assets, as the ATO soon acquired enhanced authority, making it highly probable for undisclosed overseas assets to be detected. Hence, it is advisable to consult a tax accountant to ensure compliance with these regulations.
We now know what those new powers are! In a press release earlier this month, Treasurer Joe Hockey announced that a new deal had been signed with Switzerland whereby the ATO automatically receives details of investment income and balances held by Australians in Switzerland. The ATO will then check this information against what has been declared in their Australian tax returns. Any discrepancies will then lead to amended assessments and hefty penalties. The first exchange of information will occur in 2018.
While the mechanism of how this will work between the two countries is a bit sketchy at the moment, you will have to expect that if you do have assets overseas (in Switzerland or other countries as the government negotiate similar arrangements with other countries), that there is a big chance that they will be found.
As we said in previous issues of S & W Insight, please get in touch with us if you have assets overseas that you want to discuss.
Kreston Stanley Williamson Team
*Correct as of March 2015
Disclaimer – Kreston Stanley Williamson has produced this article to serve its clients and associates. The information contained in the article is of general comment only and is not intended to be advice on any particular matter. Before acting on any areas in this article, you must seek advice about your circumstances. Liability is limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.