Wider powers to chase bankrupts

The Federal Government has released proposed changes to bankruptcy law designed to allow the tax office and creditors access to assets now parked out of reach. The proposals, which have been put up for industry comment, would mean bankruptcy trustees could claim back assets in spouses' names, garnishee professional income and prevent bankrupts' assets being put beyond reach via family-law agreements.

The proposed changes aim to close loopholes in bankruptcy law that currently allow high-income bankrupts to shelter assets under their control but held in others' names, such as spouses. The changes would also prevent people making agreements under family law that ostensibly render them insolvent.