What is tax crime?
What is tax crime?
A small number of people deliberately engage in criminal behaviour to evade their tax obligations or fraudulently use the system to obtain an improper financial benefit.
Criminal attacks on the tax system can be made by individuals and organised groups both within and beyond Australia's jurisdiction.
The most common methods of attack are:
- identity crime
- secret offshore dealings
- high-volume, low-value suspect transactions
- credit and refund fraud
- illicit tobacco growing and trading.
In fairness to the majority of people who meet their obligations, and to ensure that community confidence in the tax system is maintained, we are strongly committed to deterring, detecting and dealing with serious tax evasion and fraud. A fraud on the Australian Government is a fraud on all taxpayers and is to be treated seriously.
We take firm action against taxpayers, intermediaries and others who engage in tax crime.
We tackle serious evasion and fraud by:
- gathering and analysing intelligence on risks and threats to the tax system
- investigating suspected cases with a view to prosecution, often jointly with law enforcement agencies
- working with the Australian Federal Police and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to restrain and confiscate assets obtained from tax-related crime using the powers of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
- complementing our criminal investigation work with civil audit work and the application of tax penalties
- publicising the outcomes of our work combating tax crime to raise community awareness
- sharing information across partner agencies to achieve whole-of-government outcomes in tackling tax crime.
We ensure those people who are disengaged from the tax system and resistant to complying with their obligations face serious consequences for their behaviour, including prosecution.
We take all forms of tax evasion and intentional non-compliance seriously. The seriousness of these offences is also being recognised through the sentences being handed down in the courts.
Work with other agencies
As tax crime is often associated with other crimes, we cooperate with other agencies to investigate serious breaches. We participate in multi-agency task forces involving national, state and territory government organisations, such as Project Wickenby.
You can help combat tax evasion and tax crime. Your information is treated confidentially, and you do not have to give your name if you don't want to. Report tax evasion by:
- completing an online form
- phoning 1800 060 062 - freecall 8.00am till 6.00pm weekdays not including national public holidays - interpreters are also available.
For more information about reporting tax evasion, refer to Report evasion.
If you are worried that an arrangement you are involved in may be abusive of the tax system, you can:
- obtain independent professional advice from an accountant or tax adviser who has no connection to the arrangement
- phone us on 1800 060 062 to discuss your situation - you can remain anonymous.
Taxpayers who come forward and contact us before they are the subject of an audit, and make a full and true disclosure, may be eligible for reduced shortfall penalties.
Taxpayer alerts provide an early warning to taxpayers and their advisers of significant existing, new or emerging aggressive tax planning schemes that we are assessing for risk.
Last Modified: Wednesday, 18 May 2011