The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has warned business owners about the danger of misleading it after a Sunshine Coast man was sentenced to 30 months in jail for GST fraud last Friday.
The 48-year-old was found to have fraudulently obtained $138,723 through eight dodgy Business Activity Statements (BAS) between 2008 and 2013 and was ordered to pay $130,000 in reparations.
The fraud was uncovered during an ATO audit after the man claimed he was the director of a motor vehicle and yacht business. The tax office found the company had no business activity, sales or purchases and had not paid any GST.
He had tried to obtain a further $962,772 in fraudulent GST refunds and also supplied false documents to the ATO in a bid to support his claims, the Maroochydore District Court heard.
During its audit, the ATO found the money was used to purchase items for personal use, including property and motor vehicles.
The case is the second high-profile GST fraud conviction this month as the ATO signals its willingness to pursue tax dodgers through the courts.
“The ATO has sophisticated systems in place to detect deliberate attempts to commit fraud and we will rigorously pursue taxpayers who are found to be cheating the system through the court system,” assistant commissioner Peter Vujanic said in a statement.
“This wasn’t an honest mistake by a small business owner trying to do the right thing — it was a calculated and deliberate attempt to commit fraud and steal money from taxpayers.
In a case decided in the NSW District Court earlier this month, a Sydney man was sentenced to six years in jail and ordered to pay $1.8 million in reparations for tax fraud and illegal phoenixing activity.