Aussie taxman plays down powers fears

The Aussie taxman has refuted claims it has been given excessive powers which
allow the agency to break into homes and places of work to seize documents.

The Australian Tax Office responded to media reports that Commonwealth
Ombudsman John McMillan had given its access powers a tick of approval after an
investigation on ATO co-ordinated raids on homes, cars and workplaces in four

ATO Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo said the ATO’s powers had been in
place for “30 to 40 years”.

“When you’re looking at criminal investigations, if someone’s not going to be
forthcoming with the documentation you’ve asked for, you’ve got legal powers to
[enter premises],”
Sydney Morning Herald reported

Mr D’Ascenzo said. “We’re talking here criminal or fraudulent or evasive
practices … there are still large businesses that believe in the hide and seek
approach to working with the tax administration.”

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