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Rejuvenating Financial Penalties: Using the Tax System to Collect Fines

NCJ Number
Bruce Chapman; Arie Freiberg; John Quiggin; David Tait
Date Published
March 2003
33 pages
This paper examined a new system for the enforcement and collection of fines in Australia.
According to the authors, the current system of fine enforcement and collection is inadequate and, often, unjust. In addition to being levied in an inequitable manner, the current fine system is expensive to enforce and thus has a high rate of default. The authors suggest a new scheme for the enforcement and collection of fines, the Fine Enforcement Collection Scheme (FECS). In this system, the collection of fines would be dependant on the offender’s future income, much like the Higher Education Contribution Scheme already implemented in Australia. The authors admit that a substantial re-casting of Federal and State regulations would be necessary and that the role of the Australian Taxation Office would need to be expanded to oversee the FECS system. The authors contend that the new system would increase the appropriate use of fines, improve collection rates, and be more equitable in its administration of fines. In conclusion, the authors note that this type of system has the possibility of enhancing the administration and credibility of the criminal justice system overall. The system could be broadened for use with any number of monetary sanctioning. References