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Australia: Cross-border recovery of tax debts

Australia: Cross-border recovery of tax debts

An update from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) reflects the ongoing expansion of global cooperation regarding the administration and collection of tax.


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The ATO’s update to Law Administration Practice Statement PS LA 2011/13 (15 August 2019) outlines the options available to ATO personnel for the recovery of tax-related liabilities when the person who owes the tax liability is outside Australia (the debtor). The update also addresses the ATO’s responsibilities for recovering debts on behalf of foreign tax regulators.

Guidance is provided regarding the following debt recovery options:

  • The domestic tax law provisions that empower recovery of tax debts (such as issuing garnishee notices to third parties who owe money to the debtor)
  • The authority of liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy to pursue investigations in foreign jurisdictions as to the debtor’s assets in those jurisdictions
  • The ability to seek assistance from other jurisdictions under Australia’s bilateral treaties and the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (Multilateral Convention)
  • The mechanisms in place to seek enforcement of debts in a foreign state (and vice versa)

Read an August 2019 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in Australia

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