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Australia and Switzerland enter into tax information exchange

Switzerland and Australia have entered into an unprecedented agreement that will see the two countries automatically exchange tax information. The move is intended to prevent tax evasion through income earned and held in offshore bank accounts.

Tax avoidance has been increasingly prominent on the international agenda recently, and Switzerland is striving to shake its reputation as a haven for tax dodgers and criminal organisation. Swiss authorities have even gone so far as to criticise the James Bond film franchise for the unsavoury image it has cast on the alpine nation.

Authorities from both countries have indicated that they expect the information exchange to be in full swing by 2018. While this is the first time that Switzerland has entered into such an agreement, negotiations for similar arrangements are underway with a number of OECD countries.

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SMSFs: beware of illegal early super release

July 13, 2018

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is reminding self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees to beware of allowing members to access their super early.

A self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustee must meet a condition of release before any funds can legally be released.

The ATO can issue severe penalties if you or a SMSF member access your super before you are legally entitled to do so.

Some consequences of getting caught up in an illegal super scheme include the disqualification of trustees, imposition of administrative penalties, the fund being made non-complying and prosecution.

The Tax Office encourages those members who have been involved in an illegal super scheme to contact them immediately. The ATO will review your voluntary disclosure and take your circumstances into account when determining any penalties.