Tax Evasion

The offence of Tax Evasion is found in section 61 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997. It is a criminal offence for a person to deliberately avoid paying tax.

Have you been accused of Tax Evasion?

ATO Interview
It is important that you receive legal advice before speaking to the ATO in relation to allegations of tax evasion. One of our lawyers can assist you by running you through with what you can expect during an interview and what your obligations are if they compel you to produce financial documents. Our lawyers are proactive in their approach and can engage forensic accountants to assist with your case if it will assist.
Income Tax Papers
If the ATO want to speak with you about an allegation of Tax Evasion, speak with one of our experienced lawyers before you are interviewed. It’s important to remember that whatever you say in an interview can be used against you later in court.

Pleading Not Guilty
Our firm consists of experienced criminal lawyers and in-house counsel who can develop a strategy to contest your charge of Tax Evasion.

One of our experienced lawyers will consider the unique circumstances of your case. We’ll look for gaps in the brief of evidence against you and look for evidence that may assist in defending you in court. Our lawyers will consider your personal circumstances and work hard to protect your interests.

We believe it is very important for our clients to understand what they are facing. Preparing a case strategy early will increase the chances of this charge being withdrawn or leading to an acquittal.

Pleading Guilty
Contact our firm if you are pleading guilty to a charge of Tax Evasion. Having an experienced criminal lawyer present your plea of guilty will help you get the best outcome. We will explain your personal circumstances to the sentencing Court and tender expert reports and character references to help mitigate the offending.

Which court will the case be heard in?
This case will usually be dealt with in the Magistrates Court – although it may be dealt with in the higher courts depending on the amount.

What is the legal definition of Tax Evasion?
A person must not, by a deliberate act or omission, evade or attempt to evade tax.

Examples of Tax Evasion
  • You are required to report your earnings to the government and pay tax. You are offered a cash-in-hand job and decide not to report your earnings, and not to pay income tax.
The legislation for this offence can be found on section 61 of Taxation Administration Act 1997 (‘the Act’).

Elements of the offence
To prove this charge, the Police must prove the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. That the accused evaded or attempted to evade paying tax…
    ‘Tax evasion’ is not defined in the Act, so the court would apply the ordinary meaning of ‘evade’. To evade paying tax means to avoid or dodge paying tax.1 Whether or not the accused avoided or dodged paying tax in accordance with the Act will be a matter of fact.
  2. By a deliberate act or omission.
    In order to be liable under this section, the accused needs to evade tax by deliberate act or omission. Mere inadvertence or carelessness would not be sufficient – there needs to be deliberateness on behalf of the accused.
“Did you deliberately avoid paying your tax?”

Defences to this charge can include a factual dispute or a lack of intent.

Questions in cases like this
  • Did you avoid paying your tax?
  • Was this avoidance deliberate?
You should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has significant implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Maximum penalty for section 61 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997
The maximum penalty for Tax Evasion (s61 of the Taxation Administration Act 1997) is a fine of 1,000 penalty units in the case of a body corporate. In any other case, the court may impose a maximum of 200 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.

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