Is Tax Evasion a Criminal or Civil Offence?

Tax evasion is a tax crime, and it can be described as the intentional and illegal attempt to not pay or underpay taxes due to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). A taxpayer evades or attempts to evade paying tax by a deliberate act or omission. The taxpayer abuses the system with clever tax evasion strategies and with intentional dishonest behaviour. The main goal of tax evasion is to obtain a financial benefit.

The taxpayer does not pay the taxes owed; they report illegal taxes, or they do not report income accurately. Taxpayers deliberately fail to declare some or all of their personal or business income. They dishonestly overstate their personal or business expenses and make payments or receive payments in cash to avoid an audit trail. Some taxpayers also revert to offshore “tax-havens” or money laundering as a form of tax evasion.