CORPORATIONS LAW OFFENCES
The Corporations Law Act 1984 prohibits and criminalises certain conduct by officers and directors of Corporations. An officer or director of a corporation has a special duty to act honestly and in the best interests of the corporation.
A director or other officer of a corporation commits an offence if they are reckless or are intentionally dishonest or fail to exercise their powers and discharge their duties in good faith in the best interests of the corporation.
Likewise a director, other officer or employee of a corporation commits an offence if they use their position dishonestly with the intention of gaining an advantage for themselves, or someone else, or causing detriment to the corporation.
Further, a person who obtains information because they are, or have been, a director or other officer or employee of a corporation commits an offence if they use the information dishonestly with the intention of gaining an advantage for themselves, or someone else, or in causing detriment to the corporation.
The Act also criminalises certain personal conduct in circumstances where the nature of the corporations business requires that person to hold a financial services licence – such as the provision of financial advice. For example it is a criminal offence under the Act to provide such advice without a licence.
In Australia, the tax system is a self-assessment environment, and it relies on taxpayers acting honestly when they comply with their tax obligations. The Commissioner of Taxation has the power to ensure compliance with the tax laws, and is able to apply penalties including administrative penalties and prosecutions.
If you have committed a criminal tax offence, proceedings against you can be initiated by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution (CDPP).
The law provides for a range of taxation offences, such as:
In more serious cases, taxpayers can be prosecuted for offences involving fraudulent conduct under the Commonwealth Criminal Code 1995. When the ATO or CDPP decide to prosecute, they consider a number of different aspects, including the seriousness of the offence, the circumstances of the taxpayer, and whether or not the prosecution could act as a deterrent to the wider community.
There are a number of different tax evasion offences under the law. Some of these offences include:
Tax fraud encompasses a range of frauds, including GST Fraud and Activity Statement Fraud. Simply, tax fraud occurs when you misrepresent assets, income, or deductions to the ATO in an attempt to lower your taxation responsibilities. Some tax fraud offences include:
The ATO takes tax fraud offences very seriously and will in most cases result at the very least in a serious fine, and in serious or repeated offending, may result in imprisonment.
Offences of this kind refer to the obtaining of a benefit from the Commonwealth Government where there is no entitlement. A person is guilty of an offence of this kind if the person engages in conduct and as a result of that conduct, the person obtains a financial advantage for himself or herself from another person and the person knows or believes that he or she is not eligible to receive that financial advantage.
One of the most common ways people are alleged to have defrauded the government is by not correctly declaring income from employment. For example, they either fail to advise Centrelink that they are employed, or they declare some income but the amount declared is under the actual amount earned.
Other ways in which Centrelink Fraud offences can be committed include:
Issues of general deterrence, or deterring others in the community from committing similar offences, play a very important role in the sentencing process. Generally only the most serious offences will attract a penalty of full-time prison.
The likely sentence imposed will depend on a number of factors including: