ASIC warns on tax schemes

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has issued a warning to people thinking of investing in primary-production managed investments to avoid tax. ASIC has analysed these mass-marketed investments and found inadequate information was given on fees and commissions and sometimes advice was “inappropriate or misleading”. The watchdog says investors often end up paying commissions well over the market average.

ASIC said high-risk tax-minimisation schemes often have similar characteristics: diversion of investors' funds into activities such as management fees; poor record-keeping; inexperienced management teams; dubious markets for produce; outsourcing of functions; and high fees but low returns. ASIC intends to use the findings from the survey as a basis for talks with Treasury on possible legal reforms.