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This subject will examine the operation of the substantive criminal law covering taxation offences under the general criminal law and under tax specific legislation. It will consider important distinctions such as those between fraud and evasion and between evasion and tax avoidance, in the context of criminal law. It will consider the application of criminal processes to taxation matters at the prosecution, trial and sentencing stages. In addition, it will examine the role of taxation agencies and specialised law enforcement agencies in the enforcement of the criminal law, as well as the potential application of the criminal law to taxation advisers.
Principal topics include:
- The substantive criminal law covering tax (eg the federal Criminal Code and the Crime (Taxation Offences) Act 1980)
- Offences and penalties under the tax legislation, including the uniform administrative penalties regime)
- Tax evasion – issues including the problem of the cash economy, the challenge of e-commerce, money laundering and small business compliance issues
- The distinction between avoidance and evasion from a criminal law perspective
- The application of criminal process to taxation matters
- The role of the ATO; disclosure by ATO of tax information to law enforcement agencies such as the ACC; and voluntary disclosures to ATO and amnesties from prosecution
- The powers of relevant investigative bodies (the Wickenby Taskforce)
- Advisers and promoters
- Taxing the proceeds of criminal activity.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the criminal law and policy as it applies to taxation offences in Australia
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these laws and policies
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field of criminal law and tax
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors and processes driving change in this area
- Have an advanced understanding of the significance of the role of the courts in judicial approaches to criminal law and taxation
- Have a detailed understanding of the latest developments and trends in laws dealing with taxation offences
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to laws and policies dealing with criminal law and taxation, and to critically evaluate them
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse the key elements and features of the criminal law as it applies in the taxation context
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding criminal law and tax to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
- Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of criminal law and taxation.
Last updated: 10 December 2021