Tax offences

Tax crime comprises a range of categories, including fraudulently evading income tax, GST and excise duties.

It may involve relatively straightforward allegations (e.g. failing to report cash income) or large, complex schemes with an international component.

The penalties for tax evasion offences depend on factors such as the amount of loss to the Australian Government and the level of complexity associated with the offending.

In serious cases, imprisonment with actual custody may be imposed.

The most serious tax offences are:

  • dishonestly obtaining Commonwealth property
  • obtaining financial advantage by deception
  • dishonestly causing a loss to the Commonwealth.

Tax crime investigations

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and other investigative bodies, including state and federal police, have developed detailed methodologies to identify and monitor suspected tax crime. 

These methodologies include a combination of auditing, examining other financial institutions’ records, forensic accounting, speaking to witnesses, covert surveillance and recording, and executing a search warrant at your business or other premises to obtain computers and other records. 

Information sharing between the ATO and other agencies is now a common practice.

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