Friday, December 14, 2018

Tax Office receives first list of Swiss bank accounts held by high wealth Australians

The Australian Tax Office has just received its first list of all Australians holding Swiss bank accounts. 

Deputy commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn tells AM that while there is nothing wrong with holding such an offshore account there's "a few people on the list we're pretty interested about". 

The ATO's corporate tax transparency report released yesterday show around a third of large Australian companies failed to pay tax as they continue to claim tax losses and concessions that go back several years.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

PM backs down and announces Commonwealth Integrity Commission to weed out high level corruption

Scott Morrison has bowed to pressure and announced the establishment of a Commonwealth Integrity Commission to stamp out corrupt and criminal behaviour at the highest levels of government. 

The new body's reach will be wide and cover top regulators including ASIC, APRA, Austrac and the ATO in additional to law enforcement bodies like the Australian Federal Police. 

ABC's Peter Ryan analyses the surprise announcement.

One-third of large Australian companies paid no tax, ATO data show

Around a third of large companies have failed to pay tax even when they made a profit, but the Tax Office says most have a good reasons under current the regime according to the latest tax transparency report released today.

Who's paying tax and who's not? Read here

Of the 2,109 entities monitored by the ATO in data covering 2017-17, 66 percent paid tax although the remainder did not as they claimed tax losses, concessions and bad economic performances that can go back several years.

"While the majority of entities in the corporate transparency population made profits and paid tax in relation to the 2016-17 year, some do not pay tax," the transparency report says.

"We look to understand the reason for tax losses or nil tax payable. Sensitivity to economic conditions, reinvestment back into the business .. tax deductions and tax offsets can all effect the amount to taxable income and tax payable."

The ATO says corporate entities paid total income tax of collected in the period lifted by 19 percent to $45.7 billion in the period which is a $7.5 billion on the prior period because of an additional 68 entities being taxed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Corporate high flyer Peter Gregg faces four year sentence for falsifying Leighton Holdings accounts

The corporate regulator has scored a significant win after former Leighton Holdings chief financial officer Peter Gregg was found guilty of falsifying the company's accounts. 

The criminal case was brought by ASIC in relation to a probe over shady payments made to a consultant in Dubai for "market advisory services" which ASIC says was never a genuine agreement. 

ASIC commissioner John Price tells ABC's Peter Ryan that Mr Gregg faked accounts to cover up for payments.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Existing and interest-only mortgage borrowers gouged by big banks, says ACCC chairman Rod Sims

Borrowers subsidised big bank revenue by more than a biillion dollars after the Big Four hit them with a synchronised rate rise. 

The ACCC's final report into residential mortgage pricing practices says "opaque discretionary pricing" makes it harder for borrowers for shop around and banks have been profiting as a result. 

ACCC chairman Rod Sims speaks with ABC's Peter Ryan.

Brexit uncertainty accelerates dive in British Pound as global jitters rise

The British Pound has hit a twenty month low after UK Prime Minister Theresa May abandoned a vote on Brexit. 

This morning it's plunged as much 1.6 percent against key global currencies. 

On Wall Street, stocks continue to be hammered by worries about Brexit and continuing trade tensions between the US and China. 

ABC's Peter Ryan analyses the fallout from the Brexit uncertainty.

Monday, December 10, 2018

OECD warns on house price collapse and risk of hard landing

The OECD says a severe collapse in housing prices is a significant threat to Australia's economy. 

The Paris-based organisation says regulators should begin drafting contingency plans for a possible hard landing and a scenario where a financial institution might become insolvent. 

At the same time, the OECD says Australia's economy is resilient to shocks and noted its strong fundamentals. 

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has jumped on the positive comments and says Labor's proposed reforms to negative gearing pose a significant threat.

Here's my report from the ABC's AM program

Source: OECD

ACCC puts tech titans Google, Facebook on notice in privacy crackdown

The power and influence of the global tech giants Google and Facebook could be reined in to protect consumer privacy according to a world first report by Australia's competition watchdog. 

The ACCC has released a set of eleven recommendations to deal with the seismic changes caused by the likes of Google and Facebook, including a proposal to establish a new watchdog to ensure market power isn't being abused in digital advertising. 

ABC's Peter Ryan examines the recommendations for The World Today.