Number of Canberrans charged with not paying taxes almost halved last financial year
Advertisement

Number of Canberrans charged with not paying taxes almost halved last financial year

The number of Canberrans prosecuted by the Australian Tax Office for tax-related offences fell by almost half during the most recent financial year.

Of those charged, one Canberran was forced to pay a $6500 fine for failing to submit a tax return for 11 years between 2004 and 2013.

New figures released by the ATO showed it made 28 successful prosecutions of businesses and individuals during the 2017-18 financial year, compared to 47 the financial year before.

The ATO made 28 prosecutions during the most recent financial year in Canberra.

The ATO made 28 prosecutions during the most recent financial year in Canberra.

Photo: Jim Rice

The ATO successfully charged 17 individuals in the ACT for tax-related offences, down from 37 during 2016-17.

While the number of charges against individuals fell, the number of offences against businesses slightly increased from 10 to 11 during 2017-18.

Advertisement

A spokesman for the ATO said the tax office is not concerned by the increase.

"Due to the small size of the ACT and the variable rate in prosecutions, there are not any strong trends that can be identified or casual links that can be made," the spokesman said.

"Our activities are not substantially different to preceding years."

The ATO spokesman said not all charges issued were reflected in the data.

"The ATO focuses on successful prosecution results, rather than the charges issued," the spokesman said.

"Prosecutions under the Criminal Code are always against the individual. We mainly prosecute individuals rather than businesses for a range of [tax] offences, including those undertake in the course of running their business.

"This includes as a sole trader under an Australian Business Number, as well as where they're a director of a company, partner in a partnership or trustee of a trust."

The spike in prosecutions during 2016-17 coincided with an increase in activity by the ATO in investigating tax compliance in the national capital.

The number of prosecutions made by the tax office last financial year was the lowest number the ATO has made in the ACT in two years.

Loading

Data for the amount of money reclaimed by the tax office as a result of the prosecutions in 2017-18 is yet to be released.

However, ATO officers gathered $600,000 worth of fines from Canberra residents in 2016-17.

The fines recouped in 2016-17 in the ACT was greater than the previous four years combined.

Andrew Brown is a journalist at the Sunday Canberra Times. Andrew has worked at the Canberra Times since 2016.