When you hear the term “offshore income”, many of us may cast our minds to some sort of illicit funds held in an overseas bank. However, this is not what we mean when we say ‘the time is right to declare your offshore income’.

You may have unreported offshore income if you:

• Changed your country of residence, or
• Are unsure how to deal with investments in offshore funds or bank accounts

The ATO has been advised in recent years that many taxpayers that may fall into one of the above categories want to come forward and set things right, but are concerned about the consequences of doing so, particularly fearing the potential for criminal investigation. In light of this, the ATO has come up with an Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) that provides the following benefits:

• You can approach the ATO anonymously with the details of your potential declaration
• The ATO will indicate whether they would investigate these for any potential criminal law breaches
• They will reduce any potential shortfall penalties. If your additional taxable income is:
o $20,000.00 or less in a tax year, you will not need to pay a shortfall penalty for that year, or
o More than $20,000.00 you will only need to pay 10% of the applicable shortfall penalty for that year.
• They will also provide concessions for the general interest charges applicable

The OVDI will take into consideration any difficulties in making payments and are able to develop payment plans according to individual circumstances.

This offer will be available to all taxpayers until 30 June 2010.

It is important that you take early advantage of the OVDI as the offer will not be available after notification of an audit.

For more information about the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative or for assistance with your Offshore Income declaration and liability, contact The Quinn Group on 1300 QUINNS or click here and submit an online enquiry.