Project Wickenby

AUSTRAC funds flows analysis: 2012-13

AUSTRAC's role in Project Wickenby

AUSTRAC is Australia's specialist financial intelligence unit (FIU) and anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulator. In its FIU role, AUSTRAC collects and analyses financial transaction reports submitted by Australian entities. AUSTRAC analyses and disseminates this information as financial intelligence to government partner agencies and international counterparts to assist them to investigate and prosecute criminal activity, including tax evasion.

AUSTRAC's financial intelligence includes reports of international fund transfers between Australia and overseas jurisdictions. This information allows AUSTRAC to track the flow of money into and out of Australia through the banking system and other channels.

AUSTRAC analysis - 2012-13 funds flows between Australia and tax secrecy jurisdictions

One of the effectiveness measures for Project Wickenby is decreased funds flows to, and increased funds flows from, the 13 tax secrecy jurisdictions of interest to the task force.

AUSTRAC's analysis of funds flows in 2012-13 shows that:

  • the net value of funds flowing into Australia from tax secrecy jurisdictions was $13 billion - incoming transfers were worth $60 billion, while outgoing transfers were worth $47 billion
  • there is far less money flowing to tax secrecy havens than five years ago, with a decrease of 13 per cent in the value of outwards funds flows from Australia to tax secrecy jurisdictions in 2012-13 compared to 2007-08
  • the value of outwards funds flows to six of the 13 tax secrecy jurisdictions decreased by more than 30 per cent, for example: Liechtenstein (55 per cent decrease); Vanuatu (51 per cent); and Jersey (30 per cent).

AUSTRAC analysis - 2007-08 to 2012-13: trends for funds flows between Australia and secrecy jurisdictions

Since 2007-08, the first full financial year after the establishment of Project Wickenby (the base year), the flow of funds between Australia and the 13 tax secrecy jurisdictions has generally followed the anticipated trend of 'more funds flowing into' and 'less funds flowing out of' Australia.

Between July 2007 and June 2013 a total of:

  • $292 billion was transferred from Australia to tax secrecy jurisdictions
  • $367 billion was transferred into Australia from tax secrecy jurisdictions.

What is Project Wickenby?

Project Wickenby is an Australian Government multi-agency task force established in February 2006 to protect the integrity of Australian financial and regulatory systems. The task force's purpose is to prevent people from promoting and participating in the abusive use of overseas secrecy jurisdictions for tax avoidance and evasion.

Project Wickenby involves Australian and international agencies collaborating to detect, deter and deal with tax avoidance and evasion, secrecy jurisdictions, attempts to defraud the community, including investors and creditors, breaches of financial laws and regulations, money laundering and the concealment of income or assets.

A secrecy jurisdiction is a country, region or state that does not divulge information about an individual's financial/banking affairs or structures. These arrangements may be exploited to conceal income and evade tax because they do not have effective information exchange arrangements with Australia.

More about Project Wickenby

The Australian Taxation Office's Tax Matters website explains how Project Wickenby helps keep Australia's tax system fair and effective.

The Australian Taxation Office's Project Wickenby web page details key objectives and the roles of the various government agencies involved.

View the PDF File Project Wickenby - AUSTRAC funds flows analysis 2012-13 (PDF, 78KB)