Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Tax Fraud

Tax Fraud

Prosecuting frauds against the Australian taxation system continues to make up a significant part of the CDPP practice.  The CDPP prosecutes a significant number of taxation prosecutions stemming from tax schemes and fraud relating to income tax and the GST.  The CDPP prosecutes taxation frauds referred by the Serious Non-Compliance area of the ATO, the AFP and the ACIC.

We also prosecute regulatory offences under taxation legislation.  By arrangement with the CDPP, the ATO prosecutes straight-forward regulatory offences but if a matter becomes a defended hearing the ATO refers the matter to the CDPP to continue the prosecution.  This cooperative relationship assists the ATO with its compliance program by enabling the efficient and effective prosecution of regulatory offences relating to the proper administration of Australia’s taxation laws.

The GST is a key element of the Australian taxation system.  Prosecuting people who exploit that system, for example, by failing to report cash income received by them or by falsifying claims for GST credits, is an important way in which the CDPP helps to maintain public confidence in the tax system.  GST prosecutions vary in sophistication from small-scale fraud to large, complex schemes.

In February 2006 the Commonwealth cross agency taskforce known as Project Wickenby was set up to combat international tax evasion which posed a serious threat to the integrity of Australia’s tax and other regulatory systems.

Main offences

  • s.134.1(1) Criminal Code – dishonestly obtaining Commonwealth property
  • s.134.2(1) Criminal Code – obtain financial advantage by deception
  • s.135.4(3) Criminal Code – dishonestly cause a loss to the Commonwealth

Penalties

The maximum penalty for offences against sections 134.1(1), 134.2(1) and 135.4(3) of the Criminal Code is 10 years imprisonment.

Sentencing

The CDPP provides sentencing data to the Commonwealth Sentencing Database (CSD).  Permission to access the CSD can be obtained at http://njca.com.au/sentencing.

Significant Cases

  • DPP v Hamman (NSWCCA unreported, 1 December 1998)
  • R v Caradonna [2000] NSWCCA 398; (2000) 118 A Crim R 312
  • R v Hawkins (1989) 45 A Crim R 430
  • R v O’Connor  [2002] NSWCCA 156; (2002) 129 A Crim R 505
  • R v Ronen [2006] NSWCCA 123; (2006) 161 A Crim R 300
  • R v Stitt (1998) 102 A Crim R 428
  • R v Wright (1994) 74 A Crim R 152

Relevant Legislation

Criminal Code

Taxation Administration Act 1953

Excise Act 1901

Practice Group Instructions (PGI)

PGI CFC No. 3 – PDF icon Dishonesty offences under the Criminal Code

PGI RBF No. 3 – PDF icon Charging under section 8C(1)(a) of the Taxation Administration Act 1953

Partner Agencies