Not lodging and/or paying your tax is a CRIME.
The ATO, along with their partner agencies, interrogate various information sources and use 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
As a Registered Tax Agent, we at Highview have been informed of a handful of circumstances where the ATO is pressing criminal charges against individuals & businesses who have failed to lodge a Business Activity Statement (BAS) and/or Income Tax Return (ITR). There are even circumstances where BAS’s or ITR’s have been lodged but not paid – which the ATO & Taxation Practitioners Board are actioning to collect civil penalties imposed by the Federal Court.
Put simply, if the ATO press criminal charges against an individual and this individual is found to be guilty in court, the best-case scenario is a hefty fine, and the worst-case scenario is a prison sentence.
Tax avoidance is incredibly stupid, especially in today’s information age. The most powerful individuals and companies in our society are no longer able to operate with limited accountability and transparency. The ATO’s access to data is growing due to local and international partnerships and they also have the ability to collect information for data-matching projects – a powerful administrative and law enforcement tool.
Summary: ensure all of your lodgements are up to date, and if you are unsure please speak to your Highview Accountant.
For further information please visit the following topics and links on the ATO website: Latest serious tax crime investigation results: https://www.ato.gov.au/General/The-fight-against-tax-crime/News-and-results/Latest-serious-tax-crime-investigation-results/
Tax crime explained – how the ATO protect the revenue: https://www.ato.gov.au/general/the-fight-against-tax-crime/tax-crime-explained/
If you’d like to discuss any of your personal circumstances, please chat with your Highview Accountant today.