The Australian federal government expects its tax revenue to be boosted by more than $320 million from Australia’s biggest ever tax evasion crackdown.
The tax office’s estimate on the amount of lost revenue it expects to recoup indicates the $300 million operation will be a break-even proposition or better.
Operation Wickenby, a multi-authority investigation that includes the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Tax Office (ATO), is investigating a range of schemes aimed at tax avoidance and minimisation.
“The tax office expects the Operation Wickenby to result in increased tax revenue of $323 million by the end of the 2009-10 financial year through compliance activities and improved compliance behaviour by the relevant taxpayers,” the ATO said in a statement.
“The tax office also believes that the operation will result in additional revenue being collected under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, although the tax office is unable to estimate these amounts at this early stage.”
The ATO was careful to emphasise that the investigation was not a revenue raising exercise.
“Operation Wickenby is driven by protection of the revenue base rather than pursuit of additional revenue, as there is no doubt participation in these or similar arrangements will spread if not acted on,” the ATO said.
“For this reason, the revenue estimates are conservative and based on what was known at the time of the joint agency costing proposal in October 2005.”
Wickenby has involved some high-profile operations, including a sweep last year by the tax office and crime commission in which they executed 48 search warrants in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Does anyone believe it’s not a revenue gathering operation? Yeah Right.