Inclusion of False or Misleading Information in Records

Inclusion of False or Misleading Information in Records

Failure to Answer Questions When Attending Before the Commissioner is found in section 52 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997. It is a criminal offence that is committed by a person or a body corporate that created a record (required to be made by a taxation law) which comprised or contained a matter that is false or misleading. The person may also be charged if they included in a similar record any matter that is false or misleading in a material particular.

Have you been accused of Inclusion of False or Misleading Information in Records?

Inclusion of False or Misleading Information in Records
Interview
Did you know that the investigator interviewing you will likely have all the evidence they need to charge you? The interview is not a fact finding mission or a search for the truth. The investigator are not trying to work out what happened or asking you questions to ‘get to the bottom of it’. The investigator is interviewing you to gather further evidence in the case against you and build their case. You should call us for advice regarding the interview process.

Pleading Not Guilty
Our lawyers are experts in criminal law and many of our lawyers are accredited criminal law specialists. We have in-house counsel who can work with you from the beginning of your matter. Taxation and financial matters can be extremely complex. Our firm has an open-door policy which means that multiple expert lawyers will assist your principle lawyer with ideas and advice regarding your matter. With complex matters that involve large financial penalties it is important that a strong team works together to test all allegations of fraud or deception. You may have a reasonable defence such that you did not know the matter was false or misleading. Our lawyers can help you fight the case against you.

Pleading Guilty
Penalties for charges under this section can be extremely large for individuals and/or corporations. It is important that if you are pleading guilty to such a charge that all relevant mitigatory material is placed before the Court to ensure you receive the fairest possible sentence.
This sort of charge would be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
 
Examples of Inclusion of False or Misleading Information in Records
  • A woman intentionally entered the wrong amount for her yearly earnings in her tax statement.
  • A man provided a false statement of his investment property to the Tax Office.
Elements of the offence
The prosecution will need to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused has done one of the following:

s 52(1) – A person must not:

  1. Make a record required to be made by a taxation law which comprises or contains matter that is false or misleading in a material particular; or
  2. Include in a record required to be made or kept by a taxation law matter that is false or misleading in a material particular.

“Does the Tax Office have the wrong information about you?”

  • A person is not guilty of either of the above offences if the court is satisfied that the person did not know that the matter was false or misleading in a material particular.1
  • Proving the information was not false or misleading.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. It is important to remember that each matter is unique and requires an individual approach.

Questions in cases like this
  • Does the tax office have incorrect information about you?
  • Can they prove that you intentionally provided false information?
Questions the judge will consider:
  1. Was the accused required to keep a document under a taxation law? If yes, then go to question 2.
  2. Did the accused make a record that was false or misleading? If yes, then the accused is guilty of this offence and go to question 4.
  3. Did the accused include information in a record that was false or misleading? If yes, then the accused is guilty of this offence and go to question 4.
  4. Did the accused know the information was false or misleading? If no, then the accused is not guilty of this offence.

[1] Taxation Administration Act 1997 s 52(2).
 
Maximum penalty and the court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for Inclusion of False or Misleading Information in Records (s52 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997) is a fine of 1200 penalty units (approx. $200,000) in the case of a body corporate, or 240 penalty units (approx. $39,000) in any other case.2

If you are found guilty of this offence you will incur a fine.



[2] Taxation Administration Act 1997 s 52