Four Corners - Crackdown, The
Greedy, gullible, or victims of the taxman's tardiness? Tens of thousands of Australians who jumped aboard the 1990s tax minimisation bandwagon are being called to account.
For years they enjoyed generous tax breaks through minimisation schemes. Now they're being told they abused the system and face huge bills for tax arrears plus penalties and interest. It's estimated more than $4 billion was claimed by the 40,000 people who have been given fresh assessments from the Australian Taxation Office. One top tax lawyer likens the ATO's belated action on the schemes to its handling of the notorious bottom of the harbour scam exposed in the early 1980s. He says billions of dollars in revenue are at risk.
Four Corners has obtained evidence that the ATO was warned about a number of these schemes very early and very clearly. Award-winning reporter Liz Jackson grills Tax Commissioner Michael Carmody about why the ATO did nothing for years, allowing the schemes to flourish.
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