The prescribed taxation offences in the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth)
are the default criminal law response to tax crime. The regime contributes to
the integrity of the tax administration system as well as the protection of the
revenue.The provisions, however, also dispense with a number of conventions
usually ascribed to the criminal law, including in relation to proof and fault.
Empirical evidence suggests that procedural justice or fairness is a key factor
in influencing taxpayer compliance. This article analyses the procedural
dispensations associated with prescribed taxation offences by reference to
some general criminal law conventions, taking into account any special
considerations associated with the revenue. The general criminal law conventions
are used as benchmarks from which fairness is gauged. It is concluded
that notwithstanding the peculiarities associated with the revenue and objectives
of the Taxation Administration Act, some of the departures from criminal
law conventions are unfair.