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Prison! The consequence of failing to lodge tax returns and BAS


A Western Australian doctor, has been sentenced to seven months in jail for failing to lodge 18 income tax returns and business activity statements (BAS).

In 2020, the doctor was fined $50,000 for failing to supply outstanding income tax returns and BAS and ordered to make the outstanding lodgements within 2 months. After failing to do so, the Dr was convicted of 18 counts of failing to comply with court orders and sentenced to prison.

David Mendoza, the Acting Assistant Commissioner stated that those who ‘deliberately try to evade the tax system will be held to account’.

This is a stark reminder of the importance to lodge your tax returns and BAS on time.

Even if you intend to lodge and pay, failure to lodge on time can still incur stringent failure to lodge penalties (FTL) from the ATO at their discretion. The ATO may give you a written warning or they might fine you on the spot. The amount of the FTL will depend on the size of the entity and the period of time since the due date for lodgement.

FTL penalties can apply to:

  • activity statements
  • tax returns
  • FBT returns
  • PAYG withholding annual reports
  • Single Touch Payroll reports
  • annual GST returns and information reports
  • taxable payment annual reports.