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Some aspects of administrative penalties under the Taxation Administration Act 1953


False or misleading income tax returns and goods and services tax returns, and false or misleading statements in tax-related documents generally, can attract administrative penalties, or penalty tax, imposed by the Commissioner of Taxation. This article traces the development of the penalty tax regime, from relatively simple provisions in early Commonwealth taxation laws to the present complex and elaborate system of charges and penalties contained in the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth).

The article then considers whether, and in what circumstances, a taxpayer who takes reasonable care in the preparation of his or her income tax return and, in so doing, engages the services of a registered tax agent or other tax professional, may nonetheless be liable to penalty for making an incorrect return. The article concludes with a summary of the possible liability of a taxpayer to an administrative penalty, as the law currently stands.

Author profiles

David Russell CTA-Life
Photo of author, David RUSSELL David was admitted as a solicitor in 1974 and was called to the Bar in 1977. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1986. David has lectured and written extensively on taxation related topics in Australia and overseas. David is a Barrister, Wentworth Chambers. - Current at 01 October 2014
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Stephen McMillan, Barrister, Ground Floor Wentworth Chambers
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