find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
MP blasts lawyers’ tax rorts

MP blasts lawyers’ tax rorts

THE LEGAL profession has for too long been “rorting” the taxation system and failing to comply with the law, the House of Representatives heard last week. The Australian Labor…

THE LEGAL profession has for too long been “rorting” the taxation system and failing to comply with the law, the House of Representatives heard last week.

The Australian Labor Party’s member for Lowe, John Murphy MP, last week said he has for the last three and a half years tried to bring to account those members of the legal profession who fail to lodge tax returns.

The financial year 2002-03 revealed that 36 per cent of barristers and 28 per cent of solicitors were not up to date with their tax returns. As well, “most alarmingly”, 26 members of the judiciary were not up to date with their tax.

Murphy asked what sort of message this was sending the public. “At a time when the government are offering lower and middle income earners only $6 in tax relief, clearly the Government are not doing enough to support the taxation commissioner in cracking down on those dishonest members of the legal profession who have done nothing about their returns,” he said.

Murphy called on the Treasurer in November last year to provide statistics as to what proportion of barristers and solicitors failed to lodge a tax return between 1992 and 2002. As well, he asked what actions the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) took in response.

The replies, received last week by Murphy, said the ATO has “vigorously” pursued the lodgement of all outstanding returns, including using reminder notices and demands for lodgements, issuing summonses and prosecutions.

The Assistant Treasurer also revealed that 46 Australian solicitors were convicted of failing to lodge tax returns in the current financial year, and solicitors racked up $98,050 in fines. Fifty solicitors were convicted in 2003/04, with solicitors’ fines adding up to more than $68,000.

Barristers, as well, have been caught by the ATO for failing to lodge their returns. In the current financial year, nine barristers were convicted of failing to lodge a return, and this section of the profession was fined $25,020. This was down slightly from 2004, which saw 10 barristers convicted of failing to lodge tax returns, and fines reaching nearly $30,000.

The Assistant Treasurer’s response to Murphy’s questions also revealed that while in 1996 no members of the judiciary failed to lodge a tax return, in 2003, the number reached 26. Barristers saw a similar increase, with 26 convicted in 1996 compared to 239 in 2003.

Murphy told the House of Representatives he will pursue this issue with follow-up questions, “because members of the legal profession and members of the judiciary, more than anyone, should be meeting their taxation obligations”.

This is a very serious matter, Murphy said, and goes to the heart of public interest, being about protecting public revenue. “Those members of the legal profession should be honouring those obligations, and the Treasurer and the Assistant Treasurer should be doing much more to see that that matter is addressed,” he said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

MP blasts lawyers’ tax rorts
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
Dec 14 2017
Punishing offenders twice pointless, politicians warned
The president of the Law Society of NSW has warned legislators from other states about adopting cont...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...