The ATO's Commissioner, Chris Jordan, has warned investors about new and complex tax avoidance schemes being marketed as people get ready to lodge their 2013 tax returns, saying: "Tax avoidance schemes are no longer the blatant too-good-to-be-true offers seen in the past."
Many modern tax avoidance schemes are complex structures that are difficult for even experienced investors to identify, and many are marketed via social media or glossy promotional brochures, with offers of exclusivity and the stamp of approval from so-called experts.
In one case, promoters offered an arrangement for people to purchase "emissions" units generated through offshore carbon reduction activities (the scheme involved offshore arrangements with people claiming more than they paid).
"If you are getting back more money than you put in with no risk, and if no real goods or services are being provided, it is likely to be a tax avoidance scheme and could lead to significant tax penalties".
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