3 June 2015
Media Release - #2015054, 2015

Australia signs up to combat tax evasion

Joint media release
with the Hon Steven Ciobo
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade and Investment

Australia has today signed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) common reporting standard multilateral competent authority agreement to catch taxpayers using hidden offshore bank accounts to evade Australian tax.

The Parliamentary Secretary, the Hon Steven Ciobo, signed the agreement at the OECD’s Ministerial Council Meeting in Paris. 

The agreement, which enables the automatic exchange of common reporting standard information between countries, is key to cracking down on those who deliberately try to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

Under the agreement, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will automatically receive information on investment income and balances of financial accounts held by Australians in other countries and use it to check income declared in Australian tax returns.

Through Australia’s Presidency, the G20 committed to begin to automatically exchange information with each other and other countries using the common reporting standard by 2017 or 2018.

Australia will implement this from 1 January 2017 and first exchange information in 2018.

The Government is determined to make sure that everyone pays their fair share, whether that is Australians with offshore financial accounts or multinationals who deliberately evade tax. 

The Government announced in the Budget the introduction of the multinational anti-avoidance law so that multinationals with economic activities in Australia pay tax in Australia. 

Under this new law, when the ATO catches companies cheating, they will have to pay back double what they owe, plus interest.

Earlier this year, Australia became the first country to sign a declaration with Switzerland to automatically share common reporting standard information. This will expose offshore income that was previously hidden in Switzerland.

This Government is committed to strengthening our tax system so tax cheats have nowhere to hide and Australians can be confident their system is fair and sustainable.