The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) investigates a range of different fraud and tax crimes, which are categorised based on the seriousness of the offence.
On its website, the ATO outlines its approach to summary offences, more serious tax crimes, and the most serious financial crimes.
Insight is provided into which crimes the ATO prosecutes directly, key partner agencies it works with, and prosecution results over the past decade.
A summary offence is considered less serious than an indictable offence, which is a serious offence where the maximum penalty imposed can exceed two years.
Under the Tax Administration Act 1953, the ATO prosecutes a range of summary offences, including:
- Failing to lodge returns or keep records.
- Making false or misleading statements.
- Not responding to questions when required.
- Failing to attend an interview.
In 2019-20 there were more than 600 successful prosecutions, resulting in 599 criminal convictions, reparation orders of $172,950 and fines of $4 million.
These results are significantly lower than in previous years, as illustrated below: