Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Taane JOYCE - Failing to lodge income tax returns

Western Australia

On 21 December 2016, 55-year-old Tanne Joyce was sentenced to six months imprisonment after he pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court of failing to lodge five income tax returns between 2010 and 2014.

This appearance in court was the third time Joyce had been prosecuted for failing to lodge these tax returns.

The first time he was prosecuted he was fined and a court order issued for him to lodge his outstanding income tax returns. He was then prosecuted a second time for not complying with the original court order and fined again. However, he still failed to lodge his returns, which lead to this third prosecution.

After this latest case had started, Joyce filed two of the five outstanding income tax returns, however the Judge felt that given the circumstances only a prison term was appropriate.

Charge / Sentence

Following a guilty plea, on 21 December 2016 Joyce was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment to be released immediately after entering into a $1000 recognisance, on condition that he be of good behaviour for 12 months and lodge his three outstanding income tax returns within six months of the date of sentence, in relation to:

  • 5 charges of failure to comply with requirements under taxation law, contrary to section 8C(1)(a) of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth)

Taane Joyce was subsequently charged with breaching his recognisance release order and was fined $2,000 on 30 May 2018.

Sentencing remarks

In sentencing, the Magistrate noted the whole of society suffered when individuals did not lodge tax returns on time and pay their taxes.

His Honour commented that while Joyce said he could not afford an accountant to assist him, it would have been far cheaper to hire one than continue to pay fines. He also said that given this was the third time Joyce had been prosecuted, he could not keep putting the matter in the ‘too hard basket’ and imprisonment was appropriate as a deterrent.