ATO’s new ‘Trusts Taskforce’
The ATO’s recent compliance operations have uncovered evidence of increased manipulation of trusts as vehicles that can be at the centre of tax avoidance or evasion arrangements.
The ATO will target those people that exploit trusts to conceal information, mischaracterise transactions, and artificially deal with trust income to avoid or reduce tax.
Which trusts will be looked at?
The Trusts Taskforce is intended to target higher risk taxpayers and is not targeting ordinary trust arrangements and tax planning associated with genuine business or family dealings.
They will undertake compliance activity to target known tax scheme promoters, individuals and businesses who participate in such arrangements.
In the most serious cases, criminal sanctions will be pursued in collaboration with law enforcement authorities (e.g., through Project Wickenby and collaboration with overseas authorities).