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  • Prosecutions

    Our firmest strategies to deal with fraudulent behaviour are criminal investigations and prosecutions. These are complemented by a communication strategy. Additional treatments include referrals to the Criminal Asset Confiscation Taskforce for proceeds of crime action, and referrals to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for director disqualification action.

    During 2018–19, we delivered 42 GST-related outcomes as a result of completing 59 reviews and investigations.

    We referred 17 GST-related briefs of evidence for breaches of the Criminal Code Act 1995 to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

    We also issued two warning letters.

    This resulted in 27 successful court outcomes in 2018–19, compared to 14 in the previous financial year. This included 22 custodial sentences, reparation orders totalling $8.055 million, and fines of $10,000. Significant custodial sentences continue to be imposed for GST-related fraud, indicating the seriousness of these offences.

    Matters referred to the CDPP covered a range of GST risks, including:

    • refund integrity issues such as lodgment of fraudulent business activity statements
    • identity crime
    • phoenix operations.

    Our current GST-related investigations focus on phoenix-type behaviour, building and property construction and real property transactions, along with cases involving controlling minds, and intermediaries.

    In 2018–19, 618 individuals and companies were successfully prosecuted by the ATO for Taxation Administration Act 1953 offences. These were primarily related to non-lodgment, with $6.1 million awarded in costs and fines – a 24% reduction. In 2017–18, we had 985 successful prosecutions and $8.0 million awarded in costs and fines.

      Last modified: 01 Jul 2020QC 61031