PwC in Hot Water: Government Data Breach Exposed in Email ScandalPwC,governmentdatabreach,emailscandal,cybersecurity,privacy,dataprotection,informationsecurity,corporatescandal
PwC in Hot Water: Government Data Breach Exposed in Email Scandal

PwC in Hot Water: Government Data Breach Exposed in Email Scandal

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Stolen Australian Government Tax Policy Information Shared by PwC Australia’s Controversial Transfer Pricing Division

Emails Reveal Confidential Government Data Shared

Documents have revealed that stolen Australian Government tax policy information was shared between two top-level groups of PwC Australia’s controversial “Transfer Pricing” tax division. The confidential government data, which included key details about yet-to-be-released legislation to stop multinational tax evasion, was shared via two emails. Recipients were asked to be discreet because the information was obtained “off the record.” The emails were sent in late August 2015 during PwC‘s “Project North America” scheme and were sent to both the “partners” and “directors” email groups of the PwC Australia Transfer Pricing tax division.

The emails, which were part of a 144-page cache of internal PwC Australia emails, disclosed important information about new “country-by-country reporting” (CbCR) draft legislation. This legislation was being introduced as part of an OECD-led clampdown on multinational tax avoidance. The emails contained details about the content of the draft legislation, the timing of its release, and the intent of the drafters in terms of the powers it would give the Taxation Commissioner.

Transfer Pricing and its Role in Tax Avoidance

Transfer pricing is the practice whereby multinational corporations charge different subsidiaries in different countries for goods and services. It is often used to avoid tax by shifting profits from high-tax countries to low or no tax jurisdictions, also known as tax havens. According to the Tax Justice Network, half a trillion US dollars is lost each year to cross-border tax abuse.

PwC Australia’s Transfer Pricing division was central to the tax leaks affair and has largely avoided scrutiny. The division was responsible for illegally sharing confidential Australian Government tax information, including the legislation designed to prevent tax avoidance by multinationals. This information was shared within the firm and with clients, some of whom paid millions for it.

The PwC Disaster – Neoliberalism on Steroids

Dissatisfaction with Neoliberalism and Income Inequality

The PwC tax scandal has further fueled dissatisfaction with neoliberalism in Australia. Many Australians are frustrated with the widening wealth gap between the rich and the poor. The revelation that PwC illegally shared confidential government tax information has only increased public frustration with the current economic system.

PwC recently attempted to address the scandal by conducting an independent review and investigation. However, the Australian Senate Inquiry into consultancies rejected PwC‘s findings, stating that the company had not been open and honest about what had occurred. Politicians from all major parties criticized PwC‘s lack of transparency and accountability.

PwC‘s Selective Blaming and Failure to Take Responsibility

The Senate Inquiry criticized PwC for its selective blaming of certain leaders and failure to apply appropriate consequences. Innocent individuals were unfairly named and shamed, while others involved in the scandal remained at the company. This pattern of behavior, including the slow release of individual names and a lack of transparency, has been observed before with PwC. The company has a history of not properly taking responsibility for the actions of its employees.

Implications and Lack of Consequences

Several partners and directors of PwC Australia’s Transfer Pricing division, including the lead partner, remain with the firm despite being implicated in the tax scandal. None of the partners “exited” by PwC over the tax scandal were from the Transfer Pricing division. This lack of consequences for those directly involved in the illegal sharing of confidential tax information raises questions about PwC‘s commitment to accountability.

PwC Australia’s Indigenous Arm Receives Contracts Amid Scandal

Involvement of PwC‘s Indigenous Consulting Division

Following the PwC tax scandal, it has been revealed that PwC‘s Indigenous Consulting division is still receiving contracts. This discovery comes as PwC faces scrutiny and criticism for its involvement in the tax leaks affair. One former partner implicated in the scandal had been a Transfer Pricing partner. However, the majority of partners named by PwC in connection to the scandal were not from the Transfer Pricing division.

Government Scraps PwC Tax Advisory Panel

Advisory Panel Scrapped Amid Scandal

As the PwC tax leaks scandal continues to unfold, the Australian Government has decided to scrap its tax “advisory” panel after more than two decades. This move comes in response to the controversy surrounding PwC and its involvement in the illegal sharing of confidential government tax information.


The PwC tax scandal in Australia has highlighted the ongoing issue of multinational tax avoidance and the role of consulting firms in facilitating such practices. The illegal sharing of confidential government tax information by PwC‘s Transfer Pricing division is not only a breach of trust but also undermines efforts to combat tax evasion. The lack of consequences for those involved and the selective blaming by PwC raises questions about the company’s commitment to accountability. The Australian government and regulatory bodies must take swift action to address this scandal and ensure that measures are in place to prevent similar incidents in the future.


PwC in Hot Water: Government Data Breach Exposed in Email Scandal
<< photo by Anastasia Shuraeva >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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G'day, mates! I'm Greg Buckley, and I've been reporting here in the land Down Under for the last 15 years. I'm all about sports and culture, so if there's a footy match or an art exhibit, you'll likely see me there. Let's give it a burl together, Australia!

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