It’s probably fair to say that the Australian Taxation Office is not seen as the fairest or most beloved organization – taking a huge chunk of hard-earned funds from residents each year and often undeservingly allocating a large chunk to dubious schemes and to the privileged. ; including millions to politicians already well paid for their living and travel expenses.
On top of that, the Office charges interest rates well above market rates for late payments, and even requires companies already in difficulty to make installment payments well in advance of the payment. due date of their tax returns.
The sentence that doubles every 28 days
But there’s another way the office is extorting everyday Australians, many of whom are reeling from two and a half years of Covid restrictions and lockdowns – a fine that multiplies every 28 days if it doesn’t. is not paid.
What is the penalty for filing a tax return late?
Whether you have been affected by floods, disease or some other situation beyond your control, unless you arrange for an extension of time, you will be liable to a fine of one Commonwealth Penalty Unit for deposit late on your tax return, which is currently equivalent to $222, and this penalty can double every 28 days up to a maximum of $1,110; a figure that many can ill afford with rising interest rates and skyrocketing costs of living.
Indeed, a fine of $222 can represent up to 10% to 20% of a person’s weekly income.
If you are what is known as a “medium entity” – i.e. a person who earns, or a company or business that generates more than $1 million but less than $20 million – the fine is two penalty units, or $444, up to a maximum of five times that amount, or $2,220.
A fine of $444 equates to only 0.044% to 0.0022% of an average entity’s income.
And for a “large entity” – or one that earns more than $20 million – the fine is 5 penalty units, or $1,110, up to a maximum of $5,550.
This is at most 0.0022% of a large entity’s revenue, and the more the entity earns, the lower the fine is as a percentage.
It is therefore clear that these fines have the greatest impact on low-income people and the least on large companies.
prove his innocence
If you receive a penalty for allegedly failing to file your tax return on time, the burden of proving that this was in fact not the case will, for all intents and purposes, be on you to show that you did nothing Phone.
Plus, it’s a “strict liability offence,” meaning you don’t need to have done the act negligently, recklessly or intentionally – you just have to do the act.
Penalizing everyday Australians
This is yet another example of how the ATO penalizes hard-working Australians, while large multi-national corporations making big profits are able to pay little tax (legally) year after year. It is often said that Australia has one of the most complicated tax systems in the western world.
Additionally, the previous federal government invested heavily in the ATO in recent years, providing it with significant resources and powers to eradicate the “underground economy” that costs the economy billions every year.
As a result, we are all under surveillance.
So, what happens if I continue not to file my tax return?
It is important to know that a continued failure to file a federal tax return can result in charges of tax evasion, also known as tax evasion, which can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
“Aggressive tactics, staff under pressure, toxic workplace”
Currently, the case of ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle is before Adelaide Magistrates’ Court in South Australia.
Mr Boyle told the court that the corporate culture at ATO during his tenure was toxic. He also expressed concern about the ATO’s extortion-style debt collection tactics which, he told the court, “feared they might cause suicide in the community”.
Mr Boyle alleges the ATO pressured staff to be tough on collecting debts from taxpayers, including some who were sick, abused or had been through fires or floods.
He also told the court that after raising his concerns internally to At the ATO, he was victimized and ostracized, leading to him suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and “catastrophic psychological injury”.
Disappointed with the internal complaints process, Mr Boyle eventually went public with his story and now faces 24 charges for recording private conversations without consent and taking photos of taxpayer information, which he says he has collected as evidence of a public interest disclosure.
Public Interest Disclosure Act
Mr. Boyle seeks protections under the Public Interest Disclosure (PID) Act to avoid being sued for disclosing protected ATO information.
The PID Act aims to make it easier to report and investigate allegations of serious wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector. The act:
Breaks down the barriers that prevent people who work in the public sector from talking about serious issues. It also ensures that disclosures are properly investigated and provides protection for those who report allegations.
Issues, questions, or behaviors that may be considered worthy of disclosure in the public interest include:
- Activities or behaviors that violate a law,
- Activities or behavior that are corrupt or abuse the position of a public official and may be considered “misconduct”,
- Activities or behaviors that pervert the course of justice,
- results in a waste of public funds or property,
- The activities or behavior constitute a breach of public trust,
- The activities or behaviors unreasonably endanger health and safety or endanger the environment, and
- Activities or behavior that may constitute maladministration, including unfair, oppressive or negligent conduct.
“Drop the Charges”
Mr. Boyle’s case is the first critical test of the strength and effectiveness of national whistleblower protections under this law. If he fails in his attempt to avoid prosecution, he will have to fight the charges against him in criminal court and risk decades in prison.
Many Australians believe the case should simply be dropped, and appeals to Federal Attorney General Mark Dreyfus have been loud and clear.
The Attorney General has powers under Section 71 of the Judiciary Act to stop the lawsuits, but previously said he would not use them to intervene in the Boyle case – yet he also said the government was “committed to reforming the Public Interest Disclosure (PID) Act”.
Going to court for alleged tax violations?
If you have been charged with a tax offense and are going to court, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers anytime on (02) 9261 8881 for a free initial conference to receive expert advice and terrific legal representation, too serious as the allegations may seem.