13 February 2017
Media Release - #2017009, 2017

Consultation on increasing transparency of the beneficial ownership of companies

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP, today released for public consultation a paper entitled 'Increasing Transparency of the Beneficial Ownership of Companies'.

This consultation delivers on the Government's commitment in Australia's first Open Government National Action Plan, released on 7 December 2016. It also reaffirms the Government's announcement at the UK Anti-Corruption Summit in May 2016 to consult on options for a beneficial ownership register for companies.

Australia is playing a leading role in global efforts to crack down on tax evasion, and combatting money laundering, bribery, corruption and terrorism financing. Today's announcement demonstrates the Government's commitment to this important objective.

Improving transparency around who owns, controls and benefits from companies will assist with preventing the misuse of company structures for illicit purposes.

The consultation paper seeks views on increasing the transparency of the beneficial ownership of companies for relevant authorities, to better assist these authorities to combat illicit activities. The Government is seeking feedback on what information needs to be collected in order to achieve this objective and how it should be collected, stored and kept up to date. We also seek feedback on the expected compliance costs for affected parties.

Stakeholders are invited to comment on the consultation paper by lodging a submission online via the Treasury website. Submissions will close on 13 March 2017.