Tax Fraud or Tax Evasion refers to the exploitation of the Australian Tax system for an individuals or organisations own personal gain.
The charges which relate to Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion are obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
Types of Tax Fraud or Tax Evasion
There are many types of tax fraud or tax evasions offences that people or groups may be charged with, and the following outline some of the more common tax fraud schemes:
- Identity theft
- Telephone scams
- False promise of “Free Money” from inflated funds
- False income, Expenses or Exemptions
- Hiding money in offshore accounts
- Impersonating charitable organisations
- Falsely claiming Zero wages
- Misuse of Trusts
These types of tax frauds not only defraud the Australian Government, but they may also cause significant injustices to people who may be the recipients of the tax or tax evasion fraud.
However, one of the most common types of Tax fraud or Tax Evasion schemes is when a person may receive an email claiming they are from the tax department, and they require the person to submit their personal information in-order to rectify a tax refund. The person is unaware they are being targeted or are the subject of a tax fraud, and as a result are unknowingly helping the criminals to steal money from their bank account.
Tax Evasion and Tax Fraud are serious criminal offences in Australia and are not taken lightly by the courts. There are serious penalties for people who are charged with Tax Evasion or Tax Fraud offences, and the penalties can range from good behaviour bonds through to long-term imprisonment.
Click here to see the most common Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion Penalties
According to Australia’s Federal Prosecution Service, they prosecute Taxation Fraud which are referred to them by the Australian Taxation Office. The prosecution of Goods and Services Tax (GST) fraud, forms a significant part of their overall Tax Evasion and Tax Fraud cases. And they state that GST Tax Evasion can be quite sophisticated small-scale schemes through to larger complex schemes.
Each year the Australian Government loses approximately $8.7 Billion dollars to Tax Fraud. The ATO claims that the multi-billion-dollar loss each year is primarily due to people making simple and avoidable mistakes on their annual tax returns. Whilst some of the $8.7 billion dollars lost can be dismissed as simple errors, some people are deliberately committing Tax Fraud, in-order to obtain a better tax return payment. As-a-result the ATO is now stepping up their audits on people who may be deliberately fudging their tax claims, to try to claw back some of the money and on accountants who may be breaking the law for their clients.
By increasing tax audits on people and accountants, the Australian Government forecasts to recoup about $750 million each year over the next four years, and they are expecting to touch at least $1 million people through their tax auditing efforts.
Additionally, if a person has a tax debt with the ATO, they may not leave Australia until their tax debt is paid.
Online Tax Frauds
With the large increases of online activity amongst people in Australia, there has been a steep incline in the amount of Internet Scams. From Email scams, which see people being deceived by scammers who are impersonating the ATO, or scams which see people having their personal information being compromised or stolen, and it is easy to see why the Australian Government and Police are investing large sums of money to identify and bring charges to offenders who break the taxation laws.
The Tax Avoidance Taskforce which was established in 2016, is the key element of the ATO’s efforts to ensure that large businesses and wealthy individuals pay the right amount of tax in Australia. And the Australian Government has funded the taskforce with $679 million dollars over the next four years to combat the growing Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion Crimes.
What happens if you have been charged with Tax Fraud & or a Tax Evasion Crime?
If you have been charged with Tax Evasion or Tax Fraud Crimes, whether it is a small offence or whether it is a more serious Tax fraud or Tax evasion offence, it is extremely important to seek the services of a Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion Lawyer, so they can explain the penalties associated with your Tax Fraud charges.