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Trusts at the intersection of tax and criminal laws: unpaid tax, “unexplained wealth orders” and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002


Trust property which persons effectively control can be forfeited to the Commonwealth as “unexplained wealth” unless a court is satisfied that the wealth was not acquired through contravention of a Commonwealth law. No offence need be proven, and no tax assessment need be raised. The article examines conceptual and legal problems which arise when “unexplained wealth” procedures are used to recover unpaid tax. A person’s current “wealth” is improbably defined to include property formerly owned and disposed of at any time. Tests to establish the “effective control of a discretionary trust” reflect the jurisprudence of civilian jurisdictions where trusts are not recognised.

Author profile

Dr John Glover
Photo of author, John GLOVER John is a barrister practising in the fields of taxation, trusts and superannuation who has appeared in state and federal courts at all levels. He is also a professor in the Graduate School of School of Business & Law at RMIT University. Professor Glover is the sole author of three books as well as over 60 book chapters and articles in refereed law journals on taxation law, equity and trusts and is a co-author of Ford & Lee: The Law of Trusts. In the 2016-2017 year, Professor Glover worked full time for the Australian Taxation Office examining the relation between the Australian tax system and discretionary trusts linked to high net worth individuals. - Current at 27 October 2020
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