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Australia to Strength Tax Rules on Tax Adviser Misconduct

IBX-Jakarta. Australian government has announced a slew of tax reform measures aimed at tackling tax adviser misconduct in the wake of the PwC tax leaks matter.

The tax reforms package cover three priority areas: strengthening the integrity of the tax system, increasing the regulatory powers, and strengthening regulatory arrangements to ensure they are fit for purpose.

The current tax promoter penalty laws have remained largely untouched since their creation in the 2000s and have only been applied six times.

“Tax agents and others who advise their clients to avoid Australia’s tax laws must be penalized. Bigger penalties will reduce incentives to use confidential government information to help clients avoid tax,” a statement notes.

Next, the government said it will remove limitations in the tax secrecy laws that were a barrier to regulators acting in response to PwC’s breach of confidence. New measures would enable the Australian Taxation Office to refer ethical misconduct by advisers to professional associations for disciplinary action.

Finally, the government is seeking to strengthen existing regulatory frameworks which it feels “are not fit for purpose.”

“These are complex policy areas that also go to the broader integrity of our taxation and superannuation systems, and the integrity of our capital markets. This work will deliver options to Government progressively over the next two years,” the statement notes.

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