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Taxman steps up Swiss account investigations

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has stepped up investigations into Australians with Swiss bank accounts, ato-picpursuing some individual debts worth more than $100 million. Moreover, in the past 12 months the ATO has handed the details of more than 30,000 ­financial accounts to the US, with details of bank accounts worth more than $5 billion provided to the Internal Revenue Service to comply with new US laws.

As part of increased intelligence sharing with Switzerland in the past year, the ATO is believed to have detected hundreds of Australians with Swiss accounts, trust funds and private companies following changes in the tax treaty with the European nation.

Prior to the amendment of Australia’s tax treaty with Switzerland in 2014, the ATO has intensified its investigation into holdings in Swiss banks and other financial institutions.

Some of the debt collection cases involving Australians are worth more than $100m and the ATO has made further requests for information on Australians with money in Swiss accounts.

As part of 100 data-sharing agreements in place with other countries, the ATO engaged in a total of 519 exchanges of information in 2014-15.

The bank details of Australian taxpayers were handed to the IRS under new powers of the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The ATO is expecting to hand over similar volumes to US authorities in 2016.

Original Story at The Australian.

From → expat tax