Articles

Tax Crime

Tax fraud can lead to prison

Tax fraud or evasion is treated very seriously by the courts.  There are close to 100 serious criminal tax offence matters currently before the courts for taxation offences including:

  • Income tax fraud
  • Using false invoices to claim deductions,
  • GST refund fraud,
  • excise fraud (alcohol and fuel tax credit fraud),
  • identity crime with suspected links to overseas organised crime groups

The courts will impose lengthy gaol sentences for the worst offenders.  For instance, this year an 8 year gaol sentence was given to a man who claimed large false diesel fuel rebate claims.

As recently stated by the courts:

“Tax fraud is not a victimless crime. Tax revenue funds essential services that the community relies upon including schools and healthcare and it’s important we protect our tax system.”

 

In addition to gaol time, courts also may impose fines and other penalties including reparation orders, where offenders are ordered to repay stolen funds, and proceeds from crime may be seized.

 

Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston has described people committing serious tax offences  as “the worst kind of tax cheats. They were calculated in their attempts to deliberately commit fraud and evade their tax obligations, ultimately stealing from the Australian public, and placing an unfair burden on others who are doing the right thing”.

 

Mr Cranston warned “We have sophisticated systems in place to detect and catch those who do the wrong thing. Our current focus for prosecution referrals is on wealthy individuals who engage in serious evasion, as well as promoters and facilitators of fraud including those in positions of trust such as accountants and lawyers.”

 

Message:  Tax fraud or evasion?  It’s just not worth it.  If you feel you have fraudulently declared income, or claimed a GST fraud, seek legal advice urgently.  In the case of the worst offenders  this may help you avoid a prison sentence.  Waterhouse Lawyers are experts in helping their clients in these circumstances.

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