The Australian Taxation Office is the commonwealth taxation regulator.  Our Australian taxation system is a system of self-assessment and relies on taxpayers to act honestly in fulfilling their taxation obligations.

The Commissioner of Taxation has the power to ensure compliance with the taxation laws.  Penalties are applicable to persons who contravene the taxation administration legislation.

The ATO process

The investigative process adopted by the ATO will depend on the nature of the investigation being conducted.  The ATO have a number of far reaching powers that they can exercise. The ATO has formal access powers which allow them to enter and remain on premises in order to gain access to books, documents, good and other property.  They are able to make copies of documents.  They cannot seize documents without consent.

The consequences for you or your business

If you are charged with having committed a criminal tax offence, the investigation will be conducted by the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) and the prosecution will be conducted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

The law provides for a number of offences including:

  • Making false and misleading statements;
  • Failing to keep accurate accounting records;
  • Failing to lodge taxation returns or activity statements; and
  • Failing to pay tax or remit the tax deductions of employees.
  • There are a number of facets to corporate and business tax which are closely studied as part of the ATO’s investigating authority. Businesses and companies must ensure that their records are properly kept.