Tax Fraud & Tax Evasion Penalties


It goes without saying that the consequences of a conviction for tax fraud can be extremely serious. One only needs to look at the high profile example of Glen Wheatley who was jailed for 18 months for his role in a complex tax avoidance scheme in 2007.

Below are some real-life examples of sentences that have been handed down for tax fraud and evasion offences.

The important thing to remember is that, unlike most interactions with the tax office, allegations of fraud cannot usually be solved through repayment of monies or the like. Once the matter is being actively prosecuted, it is often too late to attempt to pay the money back.

A person convicted of one of the relevant offences can be jailed for as long as 10 years. There is a range of other penalties that can be imposed, including community service, periodic detention, and good behaviour bonds, all of which will result in a criminal record if a conviction is recorded.

R v Leonard (NSWSC 1997)

The defendant in the matter of R v Leonard was a partner in an advertising agency that engaged in a system of essentially creating false invoices, with the purpose of reducing the amount of taxation payable. It appears that the amount in question was somewhere between $75,000 and $100,000.

Mr Leonard was sentenced to four months in full-time custody as well as a good behaviour bond of two years upon his release.

R v Connor (NSWCCA 2002)

The defendant engaged in a fraud whereby contractors paid cheques to Mr Connor’s companies, which was then used to pay these company’s workers in cash, thereby avoiding the need to deduct a tax contribution. Mr Connor retained a 7% commission from the arrangement.

Mr Connor made a profit of almost $140,000, and the Commonwealth was defrauded of almost $1.5 million. As well as being ordered to repay over $160,000, Mr Connor was sentenced to two year’s imprisonment with a non-parole period of 18 months.

R v Cappadona (NSWCCA 2000)

The accused made overtime payments in cash and did not withhold the necessary amounts for taxation purposes. An estimate of the lost revenue was over $3.5 million, most of which had to be repaid by the companies.

The two defendants, husband and wife, were sentenced to 18 months and 12 months periodic detention respectively.

R v Ridley (NSWCCA 2007)

The defendant submitted false BAS’s which would have resulted in incorrect payments of almost $3 million to the defendant’s companies.

The defendant was sentenced to almost eight years imprisonment with a non-parole period of just under five years.

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