The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has released details of offshore tax planning activities contained in 11.9 million confidential files leaked from 14 offshore services firms – the so-called “Pandora Papers”. This follows the release of the “Paradise Papers” in 2017 (TT article) and the 2016 “Panama Papers” (TT article).
In a statement on 4 October 2021, the ATO said it is aware of the Pandora Papers and will be analysing the information to identify any possible Australian links.
ATO Deputy Commissioner and Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) Chief, Will Day, said the ATO will certainly look at this data set and compare it with the data the ATO already has to identify any potential connections. While the information in such data leaks is “interesting”, Mr Day noted that the ATO doesn’t rely on data leaks to do its job.
The ATO said it was important to remember that being included in a data leak doesn’t automatically mean that there has been tax evasion or crime. “There are a range of legitimate reasons that someone may have for an offshore bank account or structure”, Mr Day said. The ATO encouraged those who may have undeclared offshore income to contact the ATO. [LTN 5/10/21]