Forming an opinion on fraud or evasion
The Commissioner’s powers in relation to fraud or evasion are properly exercised by authorised tax officers under our internal delegation and authorisation arrangements. These provide that before we can amend an income tax assessment outside the normal period of review where an authorised ATO officer has properly formed an opinion of fraud or evasion.
What we will do
To ensure due process, our case officers are required to apply a set process collating and considering relevant evidence, when forming an opinion as to whether an avoidance of tax has occurred due to fraud or evasion, and then documenting the outcome.
A case officer who has identified a suspected case of evasion or fraud will apply our Fraud and evasion guidelines. The guidelines are designed to guide staff in applying our policy regarding fraud and evasion as set out in Practice Statement Law Administration PS LA 2008/6External Link, Appendix 1.
The case officer will carefully consider the matter in the context of established case law and where appropriate will prepare a submission to an authorised officer (see worksheet template [PDF, 36KB; or you can download the worksheet template in Word document format, 220KB] and submission template [PDF, 149.04KB; or you can download the submission template in Word document format, 188KB]).
If after proper consideration the authorised officer is of the opinion that the behaviour of the taxpayer amounts to fraud or evasion, they document this in a set form (see template [PDF, 108KB; or you can download the template in Word document format, 128KB]). The case officer then proceeds with compliance action, which may include amending the taxpayer’s tax assessment.
Where the case involves suspected criminal fraud it will be referred to our Serious Non-Compliance Business Line for further action.