On the 1st July 2015 a special prosecutions taskforce was established to deal with the increasing number of cases of tax fraud, the “Serious Financial Crime Taskforce” (SFCT). Up until then most tax related fraud was investigated by the ATO in conjunction with the Federal Police and in some cases the CDPP – (Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions)
Since the establishment of the SFCT there has been raised liabilities of over $473 million and $175 million collected.
Matters treated as a potential risk to the SFCT are as follows:
- Failure to keep proper company or business financial records
- Failure to lodge annual returns
- Failure to respond to questions asked by the ATO in the given time frame
- Giving false statements on your return with the intention to mislead
Hiding income and assets offshore will no longer be tolerated by the ATO. This has come about as many businesses have tried to exploit the tax and superannuation systems with offshore dealings. Some offshore structures and trusts do have a genuine purpose for many corporations and individuals, however some are being used to evade tax and corporate responsibility and actually facilitate criminal activity and launder the proceeds of crime. There are a number of secret jurisdictions under observation that are for the sole purpose to conceal wealth.
There are a number of Advisors who facilitate this egregious behavior and sadly accountants and financial advisors are not excluded.
Criminal charges can be laid for tax evasion and fraud and these charges can have a lasting impact on the lives of those involved. For example:-
- You can have restrictions placed upon you in relation to travelling overseas,
- You can be removed as a trustee,
- Your credit rating will be heavily damaged,
- You may not be able to be covered for any insurance,
- You may not be able to seek any business finance,
- You could face imprisonment with a non-parole period.
Seek Legal Advice
If you find yourself in a potential situation as mentioned above please contact POTTS LAWYERS, we will have one of our professionals with extensive experience in White Collar Crime deal with your matter and take the worry away.