Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes Remain a Target of ATO’s Tax Avoidance Taskforce

September 20th, 2021

The ATO recently released a report titled Tax Avoidance Taskforce highlights 2020-21.

The report has highlighted that:

  • Activity over the past year achieved favourable promoter penalty outcomes in two Federal Court applications following investigations by the taskforce’s Promoters and Tax Exploitation Program, one of which involved exploitation of the R&D Tax Incentive;
  • The ATO’s focus in the coming year will continue to be specialist large market advisors who promote and run tax avoidance schemes.

The R&D tax matters identified in the report involved significant breaches of taxation law, involving claims by companies who appeared not to be conducting any R&D activity. Companies conducting genuine R&D activities, submitting claims in accordance with published ATO guidelines would have little risk of falling foul of being subject to such schemes.

Anecdotally, Swanson Reed has noted that the R&D Tax Incentive appears to be cleaner in recent years. This can be attributed to the work of ATO Taskforces who have identified a number of issues within the R&D Tax Incentive, and taken relevant action, leading some to the exit from the industry.

Swanson Reed welcomes the work of ATO Taskforces where they identify and eliminate flagrant risks to the integrity of the programme.


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