ATO calls on advisers to help with tax scheme crackdown

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is calling on financial advisers to assist with a crackdown on tax avoidance schemes that are threatening Australians planning retirement.

Following yesterday’s launch of ATO’s Super Scheme Smart program - an initiative aimed at educating advisers and individuals about pitfalls in retirement planning schemes - the ATO is providing information for financial planners, advisers and accountants to help identify and report illegal tax schemes.

In a statement, ATO deputy commissioner Michael Cranston said there has been an increase in schemes designed specifically to target those approaching retirement.

“Promoters of these risky schemes are aware of the role that advisers play at this critical time and are targeting them to get their assistance in recommending schemes to clients,” Mr Cranston said.

“As a trusted adviser, you may be the first port of call in identifying a problem. The best defence is working together cooperatively.”

The ATO has warned of a number of schemes currently targeting Australians planning for retirement, including schemes related to dividend stripping, non-arm’s length limited recourse borrowing arrangements and personal services income.

“In order to put a stop to these schemes, we are encouraging people to come forward if they believe they are at risk, are already involved in a scheme or believe their clients are.”

Promoters of retirement planning schemes may incur significant punishment including prosecution and the application of the promoter penalty laws. The ATO may also consider referring the matter to the Tax Practitioners Board.

ATO calls on advisers to help with tax scheme crackdown
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