PwC’s attempt to circumvent tax law

“The team have been very busy over the last couple of months … and have worked with some ‘brand-defining’ clients. A significant number of these clients were not previously PwC Australia clients, and among the PwC clients several had not done significant work of this type with the firm even in the US before,” the email said.

The anonymous PwC executive praised the work of Collins in helping land this business with the first stage projects alone yielding $2.5 million.

“We identified US tech two years ago as representing a significant (at least for controversy!) upside sector for the Australian firm as the ATO reacted to problems it had with their structures, and diligently built relationships with key offshore buyers.”

“We were aggressive in telling these relationships they needed to act early (heavily helped by the accuracy of the intelligence that Peter Collins was able to supply to us).”

This was just months before an alarmed Australian Tax Office sent out a series of alerts when it became apparent that multinationals had responded with extraordinary speed to anti-avoidance measures under the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL).


“Some taxpayers were using contrived and artificial arrangements to circumvent the impact and intent of the MAAL,” the ATO said.

Along with the Collins ban, PwC was also found to have breached the industry’s code of conduct and must submit a compliance report to the practitioners’ board for the next two years.

The government has introduced new legislation to beef up penalties for further breaches and is considering bans on firms found to have acted without integrity.

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