CRS reveals Australians holding $100bn in offshore accounts: reports

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CRS reveals Australians holding $100bn in offshore accounts: reports

Australians are holding more than $100bn in undisclosed offshore accounts, according to new taxation office data collected under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), British newspaper the Guardian has reported.

The undeclared funds are thought to be spread across more than 1.6 million accounts, of which around 370,000 taxpayers have so far been identified. Of these, just 2,000 individuals have so far been contacted by the Australian tax authorities.

The CRS exchanges financial and tax-related information between states that includes account balances, names of account holders as well as any income accrued from investments, dividends or asset sales.

Signatories to the CRS, which was set up by the OECD in 2014, number 97 countries, which include all 34 members of the OECD. Reporting first took place between member states in 2017.

The Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) assistant commissioner, Karen Foat, told the Guardian, "Some of them are our closer partners or jurisdictions that you might expect we already share information with, like the UK, and some of them perhaps people might have thought of as tax havens and the like in the past - Bermuda, Luxembourg and places like that as well."

The ATO has confirmed that around $500,000 in previously undeclared tax has so far been paid in the wake of the CRS data being released. Foat added, "This is just the start" of the ATO's crackdown on tax evasion by private individuals.

 

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Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.