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RUNNING OUT OF TIME: TAX OFFENCES IN AUSTRALIA & THE COMMON PENALTIES


It’s Tax Time in Australia. Are you prepared? With the End Of Financial Year steadily approaching, we’ll be addressing the common questions regarding Australian tax law and taxation offences. “What is tax crime?”; “What are the most common taxation offences?” and; “What are the consequences for serious tax offences?”

Tax Crime Explained

Tax crime is the abuse of the tax and super systems for one’s financial benefit. “Tax crime includes hiding cash wages, avoiding tax, using complex offshore secrecy arrangements and falsely claiming refunds and benefits.” (ato.gov.au)


The consequences for these tax crimes include facing penalties, fines and fees, imprisonment and criminal convictions. These consequences are serious – leading to a disruptive future for the individuals who are to face these circumstances.


If you or your family member, loved one or other companion has been charged with a serious tax-related criminal charge – please contact Creevey Russell Lawyers for dedicated, professional legal assistance during this time.


It should be noted, however, that the Australian Tax Law has specificities about what kind of tax offence constitutes a criminal act or is considered a crime.


This leads to the next proposed question, “What are the most common taxation offences?”.


The Most Common Taxation Offences in Australia

Namely, the most common tax offences (under Commonwealth Legislation) include tax fraud, tax evasion, obtaining a financial advantage and conspiracy to defraud.


Each of these taxation offences are considered to be a criminal act, as they directly violate the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (‘the Act’).


It’s not easy to navigate the intricacies of Australian law and tax offences; if you are unsure how to understand which crime falls under which section of the Act, and are unsure of how to proceed – please seek further legal advice and professional guidance at this time.


The major taxation offences aren’t accidental. For less serious cases, mistakes can be the cause. For example, there may have been a misjudgement or error made by an individual during a tax return. These matters can be simple to resolve, and therefore, have lesser chance of serious consequence. However, it is expected that all Australian taxpayers abide by the law, and if they struggle to understand taxation they should seek financial advice to assist them.


Of course, those individuals who have deliberately and knowingly defrauded the tax system, can face serious punishment under Australian law.


What Are the Consequences for Criminal Tax Offences?

The main offences that lead to legal proceedings are contained in sections 134.1(1), 134.2(1), 135.2(1), and 135.4(3) and (4) of the Act.


What are the consequences of “Obtaining property by deception”? 134.1(1), and “Obtaining financial advantage by deception”? 134.2(1),


If you are found guilty of “obtaining property by deception”, or “obtaining financial advantage by deception”, the maximum penalty for both these offences come with ten years’ imprisonment.


What are the consequences of “Obtaining financial advantage”? 135.2(1)

This is an alternative to the more serious offence of “Obtaining financial advantage by deception”. If the individual is found to be guilty of this, the outcome is a maximum sentence of twelve months in prison.


And finally, what are the consequences of being guilty of committing the offence, “conspiracy to defraud?” 135.4(3) and (4)

Those who are found guilty of this offence can expect to face a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.


How do we proceed?

If you’re facing a criminal prosecution for taxation offences, you will need to seek professional and qualified guidance from a law firm. You will be well tended to with our team at Creevey Russell Lawyers. Our lawyers have proven experience in criminal law of over 50 years, with regular appearances in the Magistrate, District and Supreme courts around Queensland for pleas of guilty and trials.


No matter the time Creevey Russell Crime and Misconduct team is always available for advice and help with our 24/7 hotline.

CALL 1800-CRIME-LAW (1800 2746 3529) FOR AROUND THE CLOCK SERVICE.


References:

https://www.ato.gov.au/general/the-fight-against-tax-crime/tax-crime-explained/

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2020C00245


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