The Paradise Papers – A Reminder of the Legal and Professional Constraints in Advising on Offshore Tax Matters

After the revelations in the Paradise Papers at the end of 2017 many people started to ponder the legal and professional requirements that are imposed on tax advisers and the consequences for those advisers in breach of them. This article addresses these issues in the Australian context, and examines the main concerns faced by Australian tax professionals when providing advice and assistance to clients that engage in offshore activities. The author concludes that offshore activities are a high-risk area for advisors and that, when tax advice is given, it should be within the letter and spirit of the law, after taking account of the advisors’ legal and professional obligations and ethical considerations.