FEDERAL BUDGET 2012: Fresh funding for ATO to continue GST crackdown and ramp up debt collection

The Government’s crackdown on GST will continue for another two years after the Government said it will provide an additional $195 million to the Australian Taxation Office to extend its GST compliance program.

The extension will deliver the Government an extra $432 million in 2014-15 and 2015-16, taking the ATO’s total take over the four-year forward estimates period to $986 million.

“Fraudulent GST refunds, systematic under-reporting of GST liabilities, failure to lodge GST returns and outstanding GST debts have the potential to undermine community confidence in the integrity of the tax system,” Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said.

The ATO will also get $106 million over four years to improve its management of outstanding tax debt and superannuation charges in a move that the Government says will increase cash receipts by $1.125 billion over the next four financial years.

Bradbury says the new approach will involve “early intervention”, such as contacting taxpayers with debts earlier and providing more targeted assistance.

The ATO will also share in a further $76.8 million in funding to step up the Government’s Project Wickenby program, which is aimed at hunting down taxpayers using tax havens (or secrecy jurisdictions as the Government calls them) to avoid paying tax.

The multi-agency taskforce that runs Project Wickenby also includes the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

“Since its establishment, Project Wickenby has had a positive effect in reducing international tax avoidance and evasion. This additional funding of $76.8 million will allow for the completion of existing project work and transition the work to ‘business as usual’ activity,” Bradbury said.

Finally, ASIC will receive $180.2 million over the next four years to improve its market supervision systems and facilitate the implementation of the Future of Financial Advice reforms.

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