Tax crime prosecution case studies

From failing to lodge income tax returns to submitting false work-related expenses, the ATO will not tolerate any form of tax crime. A selection of recent case studies are available via the ATO’s website, which serve to reinforce that those who deliberately cheat the system will be held to account.

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A selection of the most recent case studies are published below, alternatively, you can click here and read the full article via the ATO website.

November 2020 – Bricklayer behind bars

A Queensland bricklayer has been sentenced to two years and six months jail for evading nearly $100,000 in tax.

Over the course of a year, Mr Ben Ogden reported sales of $85,359 in his quarterly business activity statements (BAS). But an audit found he had actually received more than four times this amount, resulting in a GST shortfall of $26,570.

Data from the taxable payments reporting scheme (TPRS) also showed that he had quoted the ABN of his bricklaying trust to a number of entities, despite telling ATO officers it was no longer trading.

In addition to this, Mr Ogden understated income on his income tax return, which caused a tax shortfall of $70,441.

“Paying the right amount of tax is part of running a business. We know that most people do the right thing, but those who try to evade or cheat the tax system will be caught and will be held to account.” said an ATO representative.

October 2020 – False claims lead to criminal conviction

A concreter from New South Wales has been convicted and fined for making false and misleading statements.

Mr Jason Wilson originally lodged his 2017 income tax return via a tax agent, but he lodged an amendment via myGov four months later. In the amendment, Mr Wilson falsely claimed he had worked for a second employer, where he received wages and had tax withheld. He also reported additional amounts for work-related expenses and the cost of managing tax affairs.

The false claims would have given him a $7,974 refund, but we stopped the refund pending the result of an audit.

During the audit, Mr Wilson provided ATO officers with a payment summary to validate his claims. But when the auditor contacted the business in question, they confirmed the payment summary was false. He had never worked there. Mr Wilson’s tax agent also gave a statement that he was not provided with, or charged for, any financial advice.

As well as being fined $2,000 and ordered to pay a further $5,000 directly to the ATO, Mr Wilson was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.

The Magistrate who sentenced Mr Wilson commented that although he described himself as an “unsophisticated concreter”, Mr Wilson’s conduct certainly represented sophisticated fraud. The Magistrate added that the consequences of this behaviour must be severe enough to deter the general public from doing the same.

This case serves as a timely reminder that over-claiming will be detected. If it’s deliberate, serious penalties may apply.

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