Publication of Tax Offenders' Names

2005 amendment repeals s 146 of the Tax Administration Act, removing the requirement for the CIR to publish the names of serious tax offenders.

Section 146 of the Tax Administration Act 1994

Section 146 of the Tax Administration Act has been repealed, removing the requirement for the Commissioner to publish the names of serious tax offenders.

Background

The previous name publishing rules were intended to act as a deterrent to tax offending, thereby improving taxpayer compliance. Empirical evidence, however, is inconclusive about the effectiveness of such rules.

The rules also tended to be excessively harsh on some taxpayers – for example, those who evade for small sums, or are one-off offenders. This was because the rules were inflexible in both their scope and application. Name publication has only one level of punishment, irrespective of the magnitude of the offence, and applies to various offences with potentially differing levels of culpability. As a result, there is no ability to tailor the punishment to either the type or the magnitude of the offence.

Nevertheless, some benefits are still seen in publishing names of offenders. These benefits are greatest in cases where a court has imposed a sanction. As such, the Commissioner will, when appropriate, seek publicity after court imposed sanctions. Having an independent body determine a taxpayer’s wrongdoing ensures the objectivity of the process, while creating a threshold to ensure that the punishment is not disproportionate to the offence.

Key features

An amendment has been made repealing section 146 of the Tax Administration Act 1994.

Application date

The amendment applies retrospectively to taxpayers whose names were due for publication, but had not yet been published at the time of enactment.