ATO prosecutes 1,500 for tax & superannuation offences

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The Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) prosecution of more than 1,500 people for tax and superannuation offences sends a clear warning to tax cheats that they can expect to be caught.

Speaking at the release of the ATO’s third quarter update of prosecution results, Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo said the figures show that there are significant risks and consequences for people who do not properly fulfil their legal and civic responsibilities in relation to tax and superannuation.

“The year-to-date results to 31 March reveal that the ATO successfully prosecuted 1,106 individuals and 400 companies for tax and superannuation offences,” Mr D’Ascenzo said.

“We have a range of measures in place to ensure we detect and deal with those who evade their obligations. This includes information sharing and working with other government agencies, and also with overseas counterparts.

“The ATO pursues tax cheats to the full extent of the law to ensure honest taxpayers have their interests looked after. Australians don’t want to face an unfair burden when dishonest people avoid their tax obligations, and they expect the ATO to provide a level playing field.”

The prosecution results show that the 1,106 individuals and 400 companies successfully prosecuted comprised:

  • Thirty people prosecuted and convicted of serious tax crime offences, with sentences ranging from two months up to nine years. Five of these convictions occurred under Project Wickenby. These serious convictions cover a range of offences including attempting to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage by deception, dealing with the proceeds of crime, and illegally seeking access to superannuation funds.
  • 1,076 individuals and 400 companies were successfully prosecuted for other tax offences.
  • Of these, 916 individuals and 332 companies had a formal conviction recorded against them. Offences included failing to lodge a tax return, providing false and misleading information, and receiving a fee for preparing an income tax return when not being a registered tax agent.

With the quarter’s figures largely on trend, Mr D’Ascenzo said it was important to note the ATO’s commitment to encouraging willing and proper participation in the tax and superannuation systems.

“Prosecution is often a last resort, but it’s there to protect the vast majority of taxpayers who do the right thing from being disadvantaged by those that don’t,” Mr D’Ascenzo added.

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