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Taxation, civil forfeiture and unexplained wealth: Part 1


The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth) is the main instrument for tracing, restraining and confiscating the proceeds of federal crimes in Australia. In light of amendments to the Act in 2011 and 2012, and the establishment of the Joint Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce, it is anticipated that litigation pursuant to the regime will increase. Increasingly, too, the Act is being enlivened as a civil regulatory response to alleged tax evasion. At the same time, the Act, and especially the recent amendments, have attracted criticism.

Part 1 of this article traces the development of the federal law of forfeiture of criminal property in Australia up to and including the most recent amendments to the Act. Part 2, which will be published in the April issue of this journal, will explore the operation of the provisions as a civil regulatory response to tax evasion.

Author profile

Mathew Leighton-Daly
Mathew is a Barrister practising from 16th Floor Wardell Chambers (Head of Chambers: the Hon. R Ellicott, QC). He has an eclectic tax-related practice encompassing administrative, civil and criminal matters (both opinion and court/tribunal work) with particular experience acting for taxpayers in matters involving alleged tax evasion. He is a part-time Lecturer in Law with the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security, CSU and is regularly published in leading professional and scholarly tax journals. Mathew is a tax law PhD Scholar with UNSW Australia and was awarded the ATAX research scholarship. - Current at 02 June 2015
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