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  • Dealing with those who cheat the system

    Most people try to do the right thing. However, there are some who intentionally abuse the tax and superannuation systems or act dishonestly for financial gain. This deprives Australians of revenue that could be invested in essential services.

    While we focus our efforts on making it easy for people to comply with their obligations, it is also our role to protect the integrity of the tax system to ensure everyone pays the right amount.

    We take firm action against people who intentionally falsify information on their tax returns, including penalties or prosecutions in serious cases. In conjunction with partner agencies, we target people who profit from criminal activity and work to protect taxpayers from fraudulent activities.

    We use sophisticated data matching analytics and share intelligence with partner agencies to uncover even the most elaborate tax evasion schemes.

    On this page:

    Our approach to tax crime

    We know the vast majority of people do the right thing, and we provide help and support to individuals and businesses to get it right. But we take a firm stance with those who intentionally do the wrong thing.

    In cooperation with our partner agencies, we use various information sources and sophisticated analytics to identify people who deliberately break the law to either:

    • avoid paying the right amount of tax
    • claim refunds or other payments they are not entitled to.

    This includes people who try to exploit secrecy provisions in other countries to conceal their assets and income and avoid their tax obligations.

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    Targeting tax avoidance

    Taxpayers and businesses have the right to arrange their financial affairs to keep their tax to a minimum (often referred to as tax planning, or tax-effective investing).

    However, we target tax avoidance at all levels and across all types of entities – including tax minimisation schemes that are outside the spirit of the law (known as tax avoidance schemes or arrangements).

    We take these schemes seriously and will take action when they aren't lawful.

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    Addressing the black economy

    The black economy (also known as the shadow economy) affects all Australians. It refers to dishonest and criminal activities that take place outside the tax and regulatory systems.

    The Australian Government will inject $318.5 million over four years to implement new strategies to combat the black economy.

    Key strategies include:

    • an increased audit presence
    • a Tax Integrity Centre for the community to report known or suspected phoenix, tax evasion and black economy activities
    • improved government data analytics and educational activities.

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    Taskforces

    We don’t work alone. We partner with domestic and international intelligence, regulatory and law enforcement agencies to detect, prevent, and deal with tax criminals. These taskforces bring together the knowledge, experience, resources and intelligence to take action against the most serious issues.

    See also:

    Last modified: 28 Apr 2021QC 57208