Tuesday, June 1, 2021

What do you want from me?** family law and tax fraud

Today’s post looks at the Family Court decision where property proceedings were adjourned to allow for the wife’s allegations against the husband for fraudulent tax evasion to be investigated. 

In Pisani & Pisani [2012] FamCA 532, the main two main issues were: 
  1. whether it was appropriate to adjourn the property proceedings given the potential impact on the asset pool?; and
  2. whether the Court should bring to the attention of the Australian Tax Office (ATO) evidence of the husband's alleged fraudulent tax evasion, as disclosed by the wife?
The court held that given the potential liability, if the allegations of tax evasion were proven, would have been considerable, it was appropriate to adjourn the property proceedings until the allegations were resolved by the ATO. Until the issues had been resolved, it would be virtually impossible to determine the true asset pool of the parties. 

In relation to the duty of the Court to disclose the allegations to the ATO, the court held it was obligated to take action to bring the issue to the attention of the ATO. This said, the court also confirmed that the question of this type of disclosure was one that needed to be determined balancing all relevant issues on a case by case basis. 

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** for the trainspotters, ‘What do you want from me?’ is riffed from the Billie Eilish song ‘Bury a friend’. View hear (sic):