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Fraud and evasion


Income tax affairs are closed after two or four years. There are many exceptions, but a general exception for “fraud or evasion” causes angst. This exception originated in measures introduced to benefit taxpayers. The beneficial origin is easy to forget when a client is dismayed at being accused by a government agency of “fraud” or “evasion”. The article explains the meaning and origin of these expressions, and examples of conduct held to fall on one or other side of the line are given. The facts, not just some oft-quoted paragraphs about the law, need to be understood in the old cases. The article revisits classic High Court cases, and explains forgotten Board of Review decisions, providing illustrations. A difficult legal issue presently is how to challenge the Commissioner’s “opinion” that there is fraud or evasion. The article suggests making it an objective test, not depending on an “opinion”, and recommends how to handle these problems pending law reform.

Author profile

David Marks QC CTA
David is a commercial Silk at the Queensland Bar practising principally in tax. He has a broader practice in commercial litigation, trusts and estates, and administrative law. He contributes to the life of the profession through his committee work for The Tax Institute and other professional bodies. He is a Chartered Tax Adviser and a registered Trust and Estates Practitioner. He received The Tax Institute’s Meritorious Service Award in 2013. David serves on the disciplinary panel of an international practitioner association. - Current at 12 February 2021
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