Appendix G – Paradise Papers
A7.1 In November 2017, the ICIJ co-ordinated the release of another leaked data set dubbed the ‘Paradise Papers’. This leak comprises of 13.4 million documents dating from 1950 to 2016. Many of these documents originated from a Bermuda-based law firm, Appleby.1182
A7.2 It has been reported that the Paradise Papers revealed the expanded involvement of offshore tax providers and the ‘extent to which intermediaries such as banks, law firms and accountants have commoditised tax avoidance’ as well as how they may be ‘encouraging this type of behaviour’.1183
A7.3 On 6 November 2017, the ATO announced that, as a result of working with overseas agencies, it would analyse the information contained in the Paradise Papers to identify possible Australian links. The ATO also indicated that it would work with the ACIC, AFP and AUSTRAC to build an intelligence base, undertake audits and, where appropriate, refer cases to the SFCT for criminal investigation.1184
A7.4 As at January 2018, the ATO has identified 344 entities and 731 individuals with possible links to the Paradise Papers.1185 The ATO has stated that it was too early to say if individuals identified were already known to the ATO. It will be ‘looking closely at all [identified] taxpayers and take firm and decisive action’ against those who have been found to ‘be doing the wrong thing’.1186
A7.5 The OECD announced on 9 November 2017 that JITSIC was already working collaboratively on the issues raised by the Paradise Papers following the model adopted for the Panama Papers. The OECD also noted that increasing work on tax transparency such as the automatic exchange of offshore financial account information under the CRS was ‘already having significant impacts’.1187
1182 Four Corners and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, ‘Paradise Papers, What is the leak and who is behind the firm Appleby?’, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (online) 6 November 2017.
1183 Gareth Hutchens, ‘Paradise Papers revealed commoditisation of tax avoidance’, The Guardian (online) 16 January 2018.
1184 ATO, ‘ATO statement regarding the ‘Paradise Papers’ (Media Release, QC 53852, 6 November 2017).
1185 ATO, ‘Senate Estimates Brief’ (Internal ATO document, February 2018).
1186 ATO, Submission to the Senate Economics References Committee, Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance, 30 March 2017, p 16.