Money

Hiding money? Government task force set to find you

$100 and $50 notes could soon be nano-chipped. Has Big Brother gone too far?

If you’ve got any $100 or $50 notes stashed under your bed, now is the time to get rid of them as the head of the federal government’s Black Economy Taskforce wants to start nano-chipping them. 

Michael Andrew wants to implant hi-tech nano-chips into Australia’s “disappearing” cash in a bid to crack down on the black economy.

But has Big Brother gone too far this time? 

Andrew has pointed the finger right at pensioners and told The Courier-Mail that too much cash was being hoarded under beds and stockpiled as a “trusted currency” in China.

“You see a lot of Chinese don’t trust their banking system so they like to take Australian dollars back to China,” he said.

“We’re seeing $100 notes used by pensioners because there’s an assets-based test at the moment and they like to keep a fair bit of cash under the bed.”

Last year, the Reserve Bank noted that criminals preferred the $50 note and it was foreign migrants and pensioners who liked the $100 bill.

This came after a report from the UBS recommended scrapping the $100 note altogether in a bid to reduce crime and welfare fraud, and increase tax revenue.

At the time, Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm said: “The only people who are distressed by the cash economy are the government and the public servants who want to spend taxes…the incentives for a cash economy would be a lot reduced if taxes were a lot lower.”

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According to Andrew, there should be 14 $100 notes for every Australian adult but there are fewer than that in circulation and he plans to find them.

“I’m working with the Reserve Bank and Austrac to get a better understanding of where our notes are,” he said.

“Clearly there’s a section of this that is organised crime. One of the options we would have is putting an expiry date on these notes.

“You could put a trace on some of these notes to see where they would go. You can use nano technology to put little chips in so you could then trace it.”

But do you think nano-chipping notes will really put an end to our so-called black economy or is this an invasion of privacy? 

The government doesn’t seem to think so and has claimed cash payments to avoid tax have cost the budget up to $10 billion in revenue — money they say could go towards funding welfare and other services. 

The size of Australia’s alleged black economy has been estimated from $23B to $50B but does it really exist? 

The federal government must believe it does as in the May budget, it announced an extra $32M funding for the Australian Taxation Office for a cash crackdown which is expected to recoup an extra $589M in revenue over the next four years. 

What’s under your mattress?

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