NSW considers penalties for improper disclosure of confidential government tax information
Businesses and organisations caught disclosing confidential NSW Government taxation information could face new multi-million-dollar penalties under a plan being considered by the Minister for Finance.
The NSW Government currently consults with representative industry bodies as part of the consultation process on tax policy and legislation.
Taxation liaison groups are an important part of tax consultations. They provide an opportunity for experts in the private sector to give input into changes to the tax regime.
Revenue NSW regularly consults with the NSW Law Society, the Tax Institute, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, CPA Australia, the Property Council of Australia (NSW) and an association representing several small business groups.
If the confidentiality of the process is not respected it could lead to businesses or individuals knowingly avoiding tax, obtaining unfair commercial advantages or result in a loss of faith in the consultation process.
The Chief Commissioner of State Revenue has already been in touch with the chairs of the liaison groups to underscore the importance of confidentiality.
Minister for Finance Courtney Houssos said:
“The NSW Government takes the confidentiality of sensitive taxation information extremely seriously and will not hesitate to come down hard on anyone who breaks trust with or takes unfair advantage of the people of NSW.
“I am working with the Chief Commissioner of State Revenue to ensure that severe penalties will apply to advisors and organisations who seek commercial advantage by sharing confidential tax related information.
“We are developing a range of measures that will impose significant penalties for individuals and entities that unlawfully use or disclose sensitive or confidential tax information provided by the government.
“We are going to pursue these changes swiftly and introduce penalties in the order of millions of dollars.
“These proposed multi-million-dollar penalties should serve as a firm warning for organisations and businesses that we expect confidentiality arrangements to be honoured on behalf of the people of NSW.
“These measures will safeguard the integrity of our tax system.”