Saturday, 25 January 2014

Australian Tax Office Nets $430m from the Rich

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: Scores of the country's wealthiest people have been caught up in a huge government blitz that has recouped more than $430 million in unpaid taxes and fines last year.

High-profile figures recently caught up in the crackdown include racing identity Sean Buckley, art dealer John Ioannou and entrepreneurs Bob Jane and Geoffrey Edelsten, who together have received bills totalling more than $21 million.

But the Australian Taxation Office investigation has been criticised by some of its wealthy targets, who claim they are being singled out by hardline and activist tactics that are "grossly unfair". Others have blasted the ATO as the financial equivalent of the Gestapo.

The ATO's deputy commissioner, Michael Cranston, said that while most wealthy Australians did the "right thing", the agency's compliance program ensured the country's rich were in fact paying "their fair share".

"If the broader population sees that we make sure that the rich - who can really afford to pay taxes - pay, then it's fairer for them and they are more willing to pay their taxes too," he said. » | Chris Vedelago | Sunday, January 26, 2014