Failure to lodge documents

Failure to Lodge Documents is found in section 59 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997 in Victoria. It is committed by a person or a body corporate that failed or refused to lodge a document, statement, or return that is required to be lodged by a taxation law.

Have you been accused of Failure to Lodge Documents?

ATO Interview
The ATO interview process is designed to assist the investigator to build their case against you. If you have been requested to participate in an interview for Failure to Lodge Documents, an expert criminal lawyer will be aware of techniques used by the investigator so you go into the interview prepared.

One of our lawyers can also attend the interview with you if you would like to have someone there on your side.

Pleading Not Guilty
A core principle of the criminal justice system in Australia is that a person is presumed to be innocent of a crime until proven guilty. This principle extends to “white collar” offences such as Failure to Lodge Documents. This means that you do not have to prove your innocence. The charge must be proved against you ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ by the Prosecution.

If you are pleading not guilty to Failure to Lodge Documents, an experienced criminal lawyer will identify the weaknesses in the ATO case against you and provide you with legal and strategic advice about your best legal defence.

Pleading Guilty
If you have been charged with Failure to Lodge Documents and the evidence against you is overwhelming, you may decide to concede that you are guilty of the offence. Even in these circumstances, it is sensible to engage one of our lawyers to represent you in Court.

An expert criminal lawyer will be able to provide detailed advice about what you should do before going to Court. This preparation will lay the groundwork for your lawyer’s ultimate submissions to the Court and assist to you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Examples of Failure to Lodge Documents
  • A man goes overseas before he has lodged his last tax return for the financial year. He returns ten years later still having not lodged the tax return.
  • A woman refuses to lodge an important document about her income from shares.
  • A company fail to lodge a statement regarding their assets.
Defences
  • You did not fail to lodge any document with the Tax Office.
  • You did not know about any document that you should have lodged.
  • You did not intentionally fail to lodge a document.
  • You forgot to lodge the document and there is a good reason for the time it took before you lodge the document.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Have you lodged all of your tax returns?
  • Is there a document that you think you should have lodged but did not?
  • Did you refuse to lodge any document?
  • If you failed to lodge a document, is there a reason why?
Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge
The maximum penalty for Failure to Lodge Documents (s59 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997) is a fine of 200 penalty for a body corporate, or a fine of 40 penalty units in any other case.

Failure to lodge documents would generally be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
If found guilty of this offence you will incur a fine.

What is the legal definition of Failure to Lodge Documents?
A person is required to lodge documents in accordance with a taxation law and fails or refuses to do so.

“Did you forget to lodge any tax documents?”

Legislation
The section that covers this offence is section 59 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997.

Case Studies