Tax

“Audacious”: Fake cigar entrepreneur jailed for dodgy business tax claims

Matthew Elmas /

A South Australian man who tried to convince the tax office to give him $1.4 million in dodgy GST refunds through business tax claims has been sentenced to two-years-four-months’ jail time.

In behaviour the ATO this week described as “audacious”, the man allegedly used his knowledge of accounting to set up a fake business, registering for GST and Wine Equalisation Tax under the guise of selling cigars.

He lodged five business activity statements in March 2016, claiming he was owed $1.44 million in refunds. That raised eyebrows over at the tax office, with its systems flagging the activity for audit “almost immediately”.

Persistent, the man then rang the tax office “almost a dozen” times asking for his refunds.

Further investigations found no evidence of the alleged business activity, leading to the man being charged with six counts of trying to dishonestly obtain financial advantage from taxpayers.

Acting ATO assistant commissioner David Mendoza described the sentence as a fitting result.

“Those people who try to evade or cheat the tax and super system will get caught and we will take firm action,” he said.

“We will not tolerate this type of behaviour.”

“The tax and superannuation systems are valuable community assets owned by all Australians and we all have a role in protecting them.”

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany. You can contact him at [email protected].

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