Taxation a growing business

TOTAL Australian Tax Office collections are growing at a rate greater than GDP, according to the ATO’s annual report.

Total revenue collected in 1998-99 was up 25 per cent to more than $142 billion, due mainly to the tax office’s acquired excise function.

Almost 90 per cent of tax was paid when due.

During 1998-99, the report says the tax office continued plans to help it

better detect, analyse and respond to aggressive tax planning arrangements.

Tax commissioner Michael Carmody said the tax office sought lists of clients who entered into specific arrangements on the advice of firms identified as being involved in designing or marketing aggressive arrangements.

It also engaged a legal team that is working with a dedicated team in the Federal Government Solicitor’s Office to ensure it has an appropriate and managed litigation plan.

“During 1998-99 the tax office issued amended assessments in forty-one high wealth individual cases resulting in increased tax payable of $191 million,” Mr Carmody said.

“Our work on aggressive tax planning, including research into high wealth individuals, has led to action in a variety of fields such as mass-marketed rural schemes and employee benefit arrangements.”

The tax office’s cash economy project resulted in an above average growth rate of net tax gained in cash industries.

“A 21 per cent increase in declared income in targeted cash industries shows the kinds of benefits available,” Mr Carmody said.

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