Requirement to Keep Proper Records

Requirement to Keep Proper Records is found in section 50 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997 in Victoria. It is committed by a person or a body corporate that was found to have failed in keeping all records necessary for the proper assessment of their tax liability.

Have you been accused of Requirement to Keep Proper Records?

Did you know that the investigator interviewing you will likely have all the evidence they need to charge you with failing to Keep Proper Records? The interview is designed to elicit admissions from you or gather information from you to bolster their case. The investigator is not trying to work out what happened or asking you questions to ‘get to the bottom of it’.

You should call us for advice regarding the interview process and we can advise you on what to expect.

Pleading Not Guilty
With complex matters that involve large financial penalties it is important that a strong team works together to test all the elements of failing to Keep Proper Records. You may have a reasonable defence that could lead to an acquittal. Our lawyers can help you fight the case against you.

Pleading Guilty
The financial penalties for a charge of failing to Keep Proper Records 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.

Our lawyers can guide you through the plea process and advise you of all the things you should do before Court to get the best outcome.

Which court will the case be heard in?
These types of matters are generally heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

What is the legal definition of Requirement to Keep Proper Records?
Section 3 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997 (Cth) provides the following definitions:

‘Tax Liability’
Tax liability means a liability to pay tax.

Record means:

  1. A documentary record;
  2. A record made by an electronic, electromagnetic, photographic or optical process; or
  3. Any other kind of record.
The ordinary English definition of the word ‘retain’ is to ‘continue to have (something); keep possession of’.1

Examples of Requirement to Keep Proper Records
  • Failing to retain income records
  • Failing to retain liability records
  • Failing to keep records of assets
The legislation for this offence can be found on section 50 of Taxation Administration Act 1997.

Elements of the offence
The Prosecution must satisfy the Court beyond reasonable doubt that the corporation or person did not retain all of the documents necessary for assessing tax liability.

“Can the Prosecution prove that you did not retain your financial records?”

A company or person charged with this offence can rely on a factual dispute to defend this charge.

You should call us and discuss your case if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Questions in cases like this
  • Did you retain the records?
  • What was your reason for not retaining your records?
  • Did you know your accountant was going to destroy the records?
  • Were the records lost or misplaced?
Maximum penalty for section 50 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997
The maximum penalty for (s50 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997) is a fine of 500 penalty units in the case of a body corporate, or 100 penalty units in any other case.

Other important resources

[1] The Oxford English Dictionary.