Saturday, August 2, 2008

You Still There, Frank?

Nice to see the ATO's audit of Lowy staying in the news:
Labor MP Sharon Grierson, who chairs the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, said she would be seeking reassurance from the tax commissioner that any deliberate tax evasion emerging from money stashed in Liechtenstein would be pursued.
The report has more on Lowy's 1995 ATO deal:
The year before that, Mr Lowy had settled a disputed assessment with the Tax Office with a payment of $25million, which outraged auditors.

Part of that investigation had centred on Mr Lowy's $110 million super yacht, Ilona, which has 18 guest bedrooms, a gym, massage room and a helicopter. It is understood much of the investigation focused on the boat's log book.

The Tax Office calculated that about $50 million was owed based on outstanding tax, penalties and interest for undeclared payments to a Lowy family company, Cordera, in 1997 and 1998.

Because it was unclear which director of Cordera was responsible, auditors drafted assessments, reportedly totalling $300 million, against all Lowy family directors and Cordera. The Tax Office intended to pursue $50 million but accepted $25 million. Details of the settlement have only just been made public.

Ms Grierson does not want any future settlement with Mr Lowy to be shrouded in such secrecy.

"If there is any talk of a settlement we would want the tax commissioner to adhere to our recommendations [of transparency]," she said.