Australians who have Swiss bank accounts are now being watched by the ATO (Australian Tax Office) who are focusing on the wealthiest individuals.
Jeremy Hirschhorn, the deputy tax commissioner has said that the ATO is now accessing Swiss bank accounts for the purpose of ensuring Australians are meeting their tax obligations.
In an interview with the ABC’s AM breakfast radio program, Mr Hirschhorn said that while “there’s nothing wrong with holding a Swiss bank account” that there were “a few people in the list that we’re pretty interested about.”
Mr Hirschhorn was unable to confirm if there were any prominent Australians included in the ATO’s list of high-wealth individuals. He said that “prominent Australians are generally good taxpayers”.
Mr Hirschhorn said that the ATO was aware of “who the big fish are” and that while digital world made it “easier to move things around the world” it also meant entities left “digital footprints everywhere”.
He added that “the days of stashing money overseas are over”.
Mr Hirschhorn also cited the Panama papers as evidence of employees having the ability to whistle-blow on companies and wealthy individuals who might be cheating the tax system.