RevenueSA conducts investigations into the operations of taxpayers to monitor and address risks associated with compliance with South Australia’s taxation legislation. In a harmonised environment, payroll tax investigations conducted by RevenueSA may address risks associated with compliance across each jurisdiction in which an employer or group member employs.
This information is provided to help you understand the investigation process and answer some questions you may have. It also provides you with some details of your rights and obligations during an investigation.
How are cases selected for investigation?
What happens when you are selected for investigation?
How do I prepare for an investigation?
What are the Investigator’s powers?
What are my obligations?
What are my rights?
What are the penalty tax and interest provisions?
Can I object or appeal against a decision or assessment?
What about my Privacy?
In most cases an investigator will:
At the commencement of the field investigation, the investigator will present to you his or her identification and authority.
During an investigation, the investigator will conduct interviews and make enquiries to establish your compliance with the particular legislation and examine and test some of your internal records.
You will receive written advice of the outcome of the investigation and any proposed action.
You should ensure that the records the investigator has requested are ready for examination. If you require further time to collate the records, please inform the investigator prior to the commencement of the audit.
If you discover any discrepancies or undeclared tax liabilities and voluntarily tell the investigator about them before the interview or at the time records are provided for desk audit, penalties may be reduced.
How long an investigation takes depends to a large extent on the information you provide, for example, how quickly the information is provided and how accurate and comprehensive the information is.
When dealing with complex matters, you may wish to ask your legal or financial representative for advice. We encourage you to do this if it helps you understand the issues involved.
If you have any questions about the arrangements for the investigation or the processes involved, contact the investigator for assistance.
Investigators have a range of powers, which can vary according to the provisions of each Act administered by RevenueSA. In general, these powers permit the investigator to:
If a taxpayer fails to comply with an investigator’s lawful requests, it is possible that a prosecution might result. Furthermore, this action may have a bearing on the determination of the taxpayer culpability in the matter relevant to the level of penalty tax involved or any decision made about the remission or partial remission of penalty tax.
During an investigation, you are obliged to provide:
If an investigation is to be conducted, you have the right to:
During an investigation, you have the right to:
At the end of an investigation, you have a right to:
Penalty tax will generally apply if tax or duty has not been paid or has been underpaid.
The amount of the penalty tax depends on the level of culpability and can range from 25% (or lower) where the taxpayer has taken reasonable care to comply, through to 75% of the unpaid tax where a taxpayer has deliberately tried to evade payment of tax. Factors that influence the level of penalty tax include voluntary disclosure of any underpayment or non-payment of tax before the investigation commences, or hindering or obstructing the investigation.
Details may differ slightly depending on the type of tax or duty involved and on individual circumstances, so you should ask the investigator for specific information relevant to your case.
Note: There may be differing penalty regimes for Acts not covered by the Taxation Administration Act 1996, (i.e. currently the First Home Owner Grant Act 2000 and the Petroleum Products Regulation Act 1995).
If you are dissatisfied with certain decisions or an assessment, you are entitled to lodge a formal written notice of objection with the Minister for Finance. You have 60 days from the date of the assessment to lodge an objection.
Lodging an objection does not remove the responsibility to pay an outstanding amount. If taxes or duty remain unpaid, interest will accrue. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of an objection, you may take the matter further by appealing to the Supreme Court within 60 days of the Minister’s determination.
Legislative secrecy provisions bind all RevenueSA employees. Information gathered during investigations is treated in the strictest confidence and will not be used or divulged except for purposes required by law.
The Taxation Administration Act 1996 prohibits disclosure of information except to certain authorised persons and agencies including State and Federal revenue authorities.