During the interview
Our interviews help us identify, clarify and resolve issues. During an interview, we will generally explain that:
- it is an offence to make a false or misleading statement (and you may be prosecuted for doing so)
- if you only have a belief about an answer to a question, rather than knowing the answer, you should say so as part of the answer
- if you do not know or remember the answer to a question, you should say so
- refusal to answer a question is an offence under section 8D(1)(a) of the TAA, and the privilege against self-incrimination is not a defence for failing to answer.
The statutory obligation to answer questions overrides any common law right against self-incrimination.
Claiming legal professional privilege and administrative concessions
During an interview, you may be able to claim legal professional privilege, the accountants' concession or the corporate board advice concession.
If you make a claim, we may consider adjourning the interview for a brief period to consider your claim.
We provide a detailed explanation of the limits to our notice powers under Limits to our formal powers.
For more about the offence of making a false or misleading statement, refer to sections 8K and 8N of the TAA and section 136.1 of the Criminal Code.
Taking copies of documents
We can require original documents to be produced at an interview under our notice powers. In some cases, we will advise if you can provide a copy of the document instead.
We may refer to documents during the interview. If so, we will:
- show you copies of these documents and their contents
- give you copies of the documents shown or used during the interview, if you request them
- only disclose those parts of the document that are relevant to the questions we ask you if it contains material relating to other taxpayers
- mark the documents produced at the interview as an exhibit and identify them for the purpose of the recording/transcript at the time they are first produced.
We may decide to make copies of your documents at the end of the interview and retain them for a reasonable period to allow them to be copied. We will usually request a signed receipt upon returning the documents to you.
During an interview, you may produce documents which have not been listed in our notice. With your consent, we will retain those documents and make copies of them, and provide you with a written receipt specifying the date and method of return. If you object, we may decide to have access to them or consider issuing a notice to you to produce them.
Adjourning the interview
If an interview has continued for an extended period of time, we will consider if it is appropriate to either:
- continue the interview with a view to finishing it on the day
- adjourn the interview until another day.
If we adjourn the interview, we will make every effort to resume the interview on the next business day. We will take your personal circumstances into account when deciding when to resume and may agree with you to resume the interview on a specific date and time. We may adjourn an interview for longer periods, depending on the circumstances.
If you were previously under oath or affirmation, you will still be under oath or affirmation when the interview resumes.
If you refuse to agree to resume the interview at a later date and time, it may be necessary to conclude the interview. We may issue a further notice requiring your attendance on another day and time, allowing for a reasonable amount of time after the adjourned interview.