Before commencing the interview
Before commencing an interview, we will explain:
- the interview procedure
- how the oath or affirmation will be given if the evidence is required to be sworn or affirmed
- that we will record the interview
- that it is important to speak slowly and clearly
- that the role of your professional adviser does not extend beyond advising you of your legal rights and obligations
- that you must personally answer all the questions, and your representative cannot answer on your behalf.
If you have not brought the notice requiring your attendance at the interview, we will allow you to examine a photocopied version of the original notice.
We may ask you to confirm that this is a copy of the original notice addressed to you before the interview can proceed.
Recording the interview
We usually electronically record formal interviews, and generally use an audio recording device to make the recording. In limited circumstances, we make a video recording of the interview. If the interview is recorded, all persons present at the interview will be asked to identify themselves for the purpose of the recording. In most cases, copies of the recording will be available to you at the conclusion of the interview. If a transcript is subsequently prepared, we will provide you with a copy.
Although your consent is not required for a recording, at the start of the interview we will inform you that the interview will be recorded. Refusal or failure to answer a question to the extent you are capable of is an offence.
Example – Recording an interview
Ivan has refused to answer questions about his tax affairs during an audit at his business premises.
We issue Ivan a notice requiring him to attend and give evidence. At the interview, Ivan refuses to answer questions if they are recorded.
Ivan’s refusal to answer questions for this reason would not be a defence to prosecution action under section 8D of the TAA.
End of example
Oath or affirmation
You may be required to give us information or evidence on oath or affirmation under our notice powers.
If so, we will allow you to:
- choose a form of oath
- make an affirmation if you object to taking an oath on the grounds of having no religious belief or if swearing an oath is contrary to your religious belief.
If you do not comply with this requirement, we will generally:
- ask you to state the reason for your refusal
- advise you that it is an offence to refuse to take an oath or make an affirmation.
We may continue the interview allowing you to give unsworn evidence, or discontinue the interview and consider referring the matter for prosecution. Whether or not we continue the interview will depend on the circumstances. If we decide to continue the interview, we will explain your obligation to answer questions.
For more about the offences relating to the refusal or failure to answer a question at interview, refer to:
Challenging the notice at the interview
If you challenge the validity of the notice at the interview, unless the notice is obviously invalid, we will:
- record the challenge
- seek advice before proceeding with the interview if we believe the notice to be valid.
You may be liable to prosecution for not complying with the requirements of the notice if you fail to continue with the interview.
If the notice appears to be invalid, we may decide to end the interview at that point and issue a new notice. Alternatively, we may ask whether you are willing to continue with the interview on an informal basis.
We will request your permission to record the interview if we proceed on an informal basis and will not administer an oath or affirmation in these circumstances.