Government Takes Action Following Tax Plans Leak by PwC; Australian Federal Police Involvement Possible
On Monday, the Australian government announced its intention to pursue additional measures in response to the disclosure of government tax plans by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), an accounting firm. The matter may even be referred to the Australian Federal Police, as revealed by government officials.
As a client of PwC Australia, the government has accused the firm of sharing confidential information pertaining to new anti-tax avoidance measures with its corporate clients in an attempt to gain a competitive edge, labeling it a significant breach of trust.
In light of the incident, PwC Australia’s CEO resigned earlier this month, and the firm has acknowledged its commitment to learning from the mistakes made.
Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones stated in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corp that the Treasury is currently investigating the matter, exploring the possibility of pursuing criminal charges that could involve the Australian Federal Police.
Some members of parliament have advocated for a complete prohibition on awarding government contracts to the auditing firm.
PwC declined to comment on the issue on Monday.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers, in an interview with ABC Radio, emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, “I think the PwC experience has been deeply, deeply troubling, and we’ve already taken some steps, but we will be taking further steps.” He further expressed his intention to unveil more robust measures to combat such behavior, which he deemed inexcusable.
PwC announced earlier this month that Ziggy Switkowski, former CEO of Telstra and Optus, will lead an independent review into the leak. Switkowski is expected to present his findings and recommendations in September.