Tax Evasion

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It is a criminal offence to evade or attempt to evade paying tax. You may be charged with Tax Evasion if you deliberately evade or attempt to evade paying tax. ‘Evade’ means to escape or avoid. This can be by deliberately doing something or by deliberately not doing something. For example, if you claim illegitimate or fake expenses or underreport your income, you could be charged with Tax Evasion. Similarly, if you engage in work on a cash-in-hand basis and do not report earnings as income tax, you could also be charged with Tax Evasion.

It is important to remember that tax minimisation or planning is very different from Tax Evasion. Legitimately reducing the amount of tax you pay is not a criminal offence. Tax minimisation is claiming legitimate deductions that you are entitled to which reduce your income. Contrastingly, Tax Evasion is falsifying deductions or claiming deductions you are not entitled to.

Elements of the offence

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In order to establish the offence of Tax Evasion, the Prosecution are required to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. You avoided, or attempted to avoid, paying tax; and
  2. That your act or omission was deliberate.

You can also be found guilty of Tax Evasion if you were an officer of a company or business and in your capacity, you deliberately avoided or attempted to avoid the company paying tax. For example, if you falsified company income records or illegally claimed duplicate expenses on behalf of the company.

Possible Penalties

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If you are found guilty of Tax Evasion, the maximum penalty is 200 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment or both. In the case of a corporation or business, the fine can be significant.

However, the presiding magistrate will take a variety of circumstances into account when sentencing your case.

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Defences

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If you have been charged with Tax Evasion, you may have several defences available to you, such as:

  • Lack of intent – that you did not deliberately avoid or attempt to avoid paying tax. For example, you were careless in completing your income tax return or recorded an incorrect amount inadvertently.

  • Factual dispute, such as if the taxation records were incorrect, or if you dispute any of the facts presented in the Prosecution’s case.

  • You were acting in your capacity as an officer of a company or business. This defence may be available if you discharged your duty with due care and diligence to prevent the commission of the offence of Tax Evasion. This may be where you the case where you did not have knowledge of the corporate conduct, or could not have reasonably known.

However, it is important to consult an experienced legal practitioner as soon as practicable if you have been charged with Tax Evasion to ensure that you receive comprehensive advice and discuss all options available to you based on your specific circumstances.

Talk to a Professional Today

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Leanne Warren is an accredited criminal law expert specialising in tax evasion offences.

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Testimonials

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"I am extremely happy with the outcome of court it couldn’t have gone any better and It’s all thanks to you and Angela. I cannot express my gratitude enough for what you have done for me and my situation. I also cannot express how much I appreciate everything.

I will forever be grateful for your support and help throughout this whole thing. So again thank you so much! Could you please pass on the message to Angela and tell her how much I appreciate her help as well !"
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"Neil and I would both like to acknowledge the exceptional manner in which you have dealt with our challenging situation. Iva has been terrific to deal with and very patient in difficult circumstances. We are pleased with the outcome today and both feel she did a great job on our behalf.

We would not hesitate to recommend your company to anyone and wish you success and prosperity in the future."
Jenny

Dear Leanne,

As per our discussion this afternoon, I am willing to accept the prosecutors offer of dropping all charges against me. Please pass on my thanks to Matt for his involvement in this matter, and of course a big thanks to yourself also. I’d give you guys a hug if I could for the professionalism and care that you show in your practice.
All the best to you and your team,
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"Just wanted to thank you again for today. I’m still in awe at how well it went down today and so quickly all without you barely speaking. My daughter was so happy to see me home when she got home from school. You are a true gem. I am truly grateful, you were the only one who showed me an ounce of interest in my hour of need.

Thank you, thank you thank you. With a performance like today you are going very far in your career!"
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It’s just started to sink in, what happened at court today and I would like to thank you again for your understanding and support. You made it all much easier J. I am driving back home to work my butt off so I can start my life again.

Matt

Just wanted to thank you for all the work you have done for my case, charges dropped, good result etc. I really appreciate all you have done for me over the years, so thank you.

Craig

Get the Help You Need

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If you have been accused of tax evasion, please contact one of our specialists at Leanne Warren & Associates on 03 9670 6066 or schedule a FREE 30 min. consultation by clicking on the button below.