Tax avoidance rules not working: D’Ascenzo

Tax commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo told a conference today rules governing tax avoidance are not working.

D’Ascenzo told the ATAX International Tax Administration conference in Sydney that tax avoiders were using technical arguments to skirt anti-avoidance laws, according to the Australian Financial Review (AFR).

The government is reviewing anti-avoidance provisions in order to tighten the laws.

“The government is seeking to bring it back to what was originally thought to be the way that it operated; [that was] to focus on whether someone entered an arrangement with the purpose of avoiding tax – not technical arguments around the side as to whether there was a tax benefit,” D’Ascenzo says.

Last month D’Ascenzo told the Tax Institute of Australia about the success of Project Wickenby, which he said had helped tackle serious tax crime and reduce the flow of money to tax havens around the world.

Former High Court chief justice Sir Anthony Mason told today’s event white-collar taxation crime needed to be dealt with more harshly.

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