Tax crime is an increasing focus of the Australian Tax Office and Commonwealth Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and other regulatory authorities. The most serious tax offences are contained in the Commonwealth Criminal Code and are:
- s.134.1(1) Criminal Code—dishonestly obtaining Commonwealth property;
- s.134.2(1) Criminal Code—obtain financial advantage by deception;
- s.135.4(3) Criminal Code—dishonestly cause a loss to the Commonwealth.
Tax crime comprises a range of categories, including fraudulently evading income tax, GST and excise duties. It may involve relatively straightforward allegations (for instance, failing to report cash income) or large, complex schemes with an international component.
The penalties for tax evasion offences vary depending on a range of factors, including the amount of loss to the federal government and the level of complexity associated with the offending. In serious cases, imprisonment with actual custody may be imposed.
Tax Crime Investigations
With advances in technology, tax crime investigations are increasing sophisticated. The Australian Tax Office and other investigative bodies, including the state and federal police, have developed detailed methodologies to identify and monitor suspected tax crime. These methodologies may 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 computer and other records. Information sharing between the Tax Office and other agencies is now a common practice.
Jasper Fogerty Lawyers have extensive experience in ATO investigations and tax fraud and tax evasion offences. Julia Jasper is one of Queensland's tax crime experts. With dual qualifications as a criminal defence Accredited Specialist and Chartered Accountant, as well as decades of experience working in forensic financial crime, Julia delivers confident, quality representation in all criminal and regulatory tax matters.