Wealthy in the sights of the ATO: says BDO

25 November 2019

BDO Australia has signalled an alert to high-net-worth individuals and wealthy families as the ATO looks to crackdown on tax avoidance behaviours.

BDO Tax Partner, Carlo Moretti said: “The Tax Office have quietly expanded their tax avoidance taskforce for private groups and updated their tax performance programs for private groups.

“The ATO now have an unprecedented focus on existing high private wealth groups and emerging private wealth groups. In addition to consolidating their existing programs (most notably increasing the Top 320 program to the Top 500 program), they’ve widened their net by deploying dedicated audit and assurance resources to private groups controlling wealth exceeding $5 million, and private businesses with revenue turnover exceeding $10 million,” he said.

“This recent development reflects a significant increase in tax avoidance taskforce resources dedicated to private wealth groups and expanding the risk review net beyond original expectations.

The ATO now have a three tier tax performance program for private wealth groups:

  1. Top 500 private groups program
  2. High wealth private groups program
  3. Medium and emerging private groups.

The programs build on the strong performance of the ATO during the preceding 3 years in the private wealth space.

According to the Tax Office, since the taskforce commenced in July 2016 and to June 2019, the ATO has raised a total of circa $14 billion in tax liabilities and collected circa $8.2 billion from large public groups, multinational corporations, wealthy individuals and private groups.

“The ATO advise they will notify taxpayers who fall within the updated private group programs so now is the time to review your taxation affairs before there’s an interest.”

Read more at the AFR: www.afr.com/policy/tax-and-super/rich-listers-targeted-by-ato-in-cash-push-20191129-p53ffz NB: subscription required to access this content.