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Government Reveals Proposed Legislation Cracking Down On Tax Advisers

Proposed legislation would see tax advisers face larger fines for running tax avoidance schemes.

The proposal set to be brought forward to the lower house on Thursday comes in the wake of this year’s PwC scandal which saw the firm misuse confidential government documents to get a head of new tax laws.

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Reported first by the AAP, the changes would see the maximum fine given to advisers and firms running avoidance schemes increase from $7.8 million to $780 million.

Other changes to be considered are allowing more time for legal action, modernising secretary laws and whistle blower protection.

The updated secrecy laws would mean agencies would be allowed to speak to each other.

Regulators including the Australian Taxation Office and Tax Practitioners Board would also be given more power and more time given to complete investigations of complex cases of misconduct.

Currently regulators have four years to take its fight to the Federal Court; the new legislation would allow six years.

In a statement, assistant treasurer Stephen Jones said it was the “biggest government crackdown on tax advisor misconduct in Australian history”.

“The PwC scandal exposed severe shortcomings in Australia’s regulatory frameworks undermining community confidence in our tax systems,” he said.

“[The] bill reflects the government’s decisive next step in better regulating tax practitioners and strengthening accountability within the tax system.”

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