Tax convictions fell from nearly 500 in the first three months of 2010 to 276 for Q1 2011.
According to figures released by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) this week, the vast majority of these offences (234) were committed by individuals, while 42 companies were convicted of tax offences. During this period, 13 people received custodial sentences, including two resulting from Project Wickenby investigations.
"We saw a range of offences during this period, including the use of offshore secrecy havens, use of an asset-stripping scheme, refund fraud and unregistered tax agents operating illegally," said Tax Commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo.
Convictions included a four-year custodial sentence imposed on a Victorian man who dishonestly obtained nearly $1.5 million in excise duty and GST refunds. A former lawyer from Sydney was also fined over $100,000 for 23 offences of non-lodgment of income tax returns and GST quarterly returns.