Tax schemes under microscope

THE Australian Taxation Office has referred up to a dozen tax-effective investment scheme promoters to other authorities and regulators, including the National Crime Authority.

Since late 1997, the ATO has uncovered a number of breaches of laws it has no jurisdiction over, including breaches of Commonwealth laws, which has led to cases being passed on to the NCA.

ATO spokesman Peter Smith confirmed as many as a dozen cases had been referred to other bodies in the past four years, but would not provide specific details in case he jeopardised an investigation.

Business News believes at least one WA-based promoter had its operations referred to the NCA about two years ago.

The news confirms that, at least in a handful of cases, the ATO has found more than a few discrepancies it considers go beyond mere hard selling.

The ATO, however, could not point to any charges from those referrals.

It is not known whether the cases relate to any promoters behind 170 schemes granted product rulings by the ATO during the past two years but it is most likely the referrals stem from investments marketed before that time.

An ASIC spokesman said charges against two WA businessmen, Kenneth George Williamson and Arthur Edward Baker, had not come from ATO referrals.

The two men face 40 charges in relation to Allrange Tree Farms’ promotion of the Frankland Bluegum Scheme and another 40 charges of inviting investors to subscribe for a prescribed interest while not being a public operation.

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