The ATO on Thur 27.3.2014, launched “Project DO IT: Disclose Offshore Income Today” in a bid to urge taxpayers with offshore assets to declare their interest ahead of a global crackdown on international tax havens.

The ATO said its offshore voluntary disclosure initiative (OVDI) provides a last chance opportunity for those who haven’t declared their overseas assets and income to come back into the system before December 2014. “If you’ve got international tax liabilities, act now and come forward and we’ll bring you back into the system with a heavily reduced penalty. If you don’t declare your interests, you’ll be caught and penalised,” said Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan.

In announcing the OVDI at the Tax Institute National Convention on Thur 27.3.2014, Mr Jordan said:

  • eligible taxpayers who make disclosures will only be assessed for applicable (open) periods of review (generally only the last 4 years).
  • A shortfall penalty of 10% (plus SIC) will apply for disclosures, although low-level disclosures will attract minimal or no penalties.
  • However, taxpayers will not be entitled to utilise any losses that arose in years for which they are not being assessed.
  • Nevertheless, taxpayers will be able to enter into a settlement deed to obtain additional certainty (where circumstances call for additional surety) and seek assurance regarding the ATO’s tax treatment of repatriated offshore assets.
  • Furthermore, the Commissioner said taxpayers will not be investigated or referred for criminal investigation by the ATO on the basis of their disclosures under Project DO IT.

Further information on Project DO IT is available on the ATO website.

Source: ATO media release 2014/08, 27 March 2014

[LTN 59, 27/3/14]