THE NEWS WRAP: ATO announces offshore tax haven crackdown

The Australian Tax Office has announced a major crackdown on businesses sending profits offshore, including offshore tax havens, low-tax jurisdictions and trusts, as part of its annual compliance strategy for 2013/14.


While the strategy is primarily aimed at large multinational businesses, the ATO warns it will conduct 680 reviews and 115 audits of individuals and small enterprises as part of the crackdown.


“Because of the size of these transactions and the size of the companies we are looking at, it’s of big consequence for the revenue of Australia. It’s globally the number one issue that revenue authorities are dealing with,” says ATO second commissioner Bruce Quigley.


China’s growth slows to 7.5% during second quarter, missing the long-term average


Australia’s largest trading partner, China, saw its economy grow by 7.5% during the second quarter, marking the fifth consecutive quarter where its economy has expanded less than the 8% of recent years.


Industrial output for June rose by 8.9% year-on-year, fixed asset investment was up 20.1%, while retail sales increased by 13.3%.


With the growth rate slowing from 7.7% during the first quarter and 7.9% during the final quarter of 2013, some economists are speculating that China might not meet its annual growth target of 7.5%.


AGL bids for Australian Power and Gas


Energy giant AGL has launched a takeover bid for second-tier electricity retailer Australian Power and Gas, which supplies around 350,000 customers, predominantly in the eastern states.


AGL currently holds a 19.9% stake in its target, having already made deals which will see its stake increase to 57% should no higher bid emerge.


Australian Power and Gas had a market capitalisation of $75 million prior to AGL’s bid, which will see it pay a 33% premium to the share price.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.13% to 15484.26. The Aussie dollar is up to US91.07 cents.


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