Who didn’t manage a wry smile when news broke that the son of a taxation deputy commissions was arrested for allegedly being involved in a tax fraud syndicate scandal worth $165 million? 

According to The Australian, The Tax Office is in an unprecedented crisis, with some of its tax-avoidance investigations in jeopardy. And it’s almost June! 

But any hope they won’t get around to dealing with your tax submission is just a pipe dream.   

Deputy ATO commissioner Michael Cranston faces two charges of abusing his position as a public official by seeking information about the tax office’s investigation into the alleged tax fraud involving his son, Adam.

Adam Cranston, 30, and his sister Lauren, 24, were among those charged yesterday for allegedly defrauding the commonwealth by skimming the funds of a company that provided payroll services for large corporate clients.

There were fast cars, watches and wads of cash found during the investigation.

Meanwhile… what’s life like for those of us living in the real world, paying our taxes and trying to get by on low wages?

The Sydney Morning Herald gave us this stark picture this week: “As the end of the week rolls around Albert Santos and his fiancee Jenny Armas have little left in the bank to get by. After paying for groceries and bills, they then pay almost half of their income on rent for an old two bedroom apartment in Parramatta.”

“Saving for their wedding, let alone a first home, is pretty much out of the question.”

The paper quoted Ms Armas as explaining: ‘‘ We’re paying $430 a week, that’s more than $1700 a month, that’s about 40 to 50 per cent of our joint income, and we’re lucky it’s not much more.”

No fast cars and wads of cash there.

The latest Rental Affordability Index (RAI) shows huge areas of Sydney are out of reach for families on moderate incomes of $140,000. Tenants are spending 29 per cent of their pay on housing.

But one bunch who are making wads of cash are Health funds, who made post-tax profits of $1.3 billion in the year to April 1, an annual increase of 18 per cent.

Total premium revenue for health funds in the period was $22.8 billion and they held on to $3.4 billion after paying out claims.

And a survey today shows we’re actually underinsured.

Some 38 per cent of families had no life insurance, and close to a quarter were not confident the insurance they have would be enough.

A thousand parents nationwide were questioned as part of the Real Insurance Family Protection Survey, the seventh instalment in a series of national studies. Thirty-five per cent of those surveyed said that, if they died, their family would be financially burdened.

Rice Warner, which provides independent research and advice to the superannuation and insurance sectors, said people were more likely to focus on their immediate needs than on providing for the future through superannuation and insurance.. The annual cost to the government of life underinsurance is estimated at $57 million, and $1.26 billion for total permanent disability underinsurance.

Finally, U bank has introduced a helpful and friendly bot to guide home loan applicants through the process.  It is artificial intelligence and, according to the company, learns as it interacts with customers.

Our intrepid digital manger Nick Barkl gave the bot a spin. Read his report here.

 Have a good weekend!

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