The ATO has warned taxpayers to steer clear of tax avoidance schemes as they prepare to lodge their 2011 tax returns.

“It is at this time of year we see an increase in the number of tax avoidance schemes being promoted,” Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo said.

“And I’m concerned that some people are getting involved in arrangements designed to deliberately avoid their tax obligations.”

There are many different types of tax schemes; from publicly marketed arrangements, to specialist financial arrangements offered by experienced advisers.

“As appealing as an investment opportunity may sound, sometimes the promised tax benefits might not be consistent with the law,” Mr D’Ascenzo explained.

If you’re considering entering into an arrangement that will affect your tax liabilities-including shares, real estate or other financial products-it’s important to carefully investigate and understand the tax consequences before making your investment decision.

Not getting the right information and advice can lead to a large tax debt, substantial penalties and in some cases even prosecution.

“Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” Mr D’Ascenzo said.

For more information on tax returns contact the team at South East Access