Reece Porter, a 28-year-old man from Western Australia, had sought to obtain over $1 million in fraudulent tax refunds by submitting income tax returns that had been falsified over a number of years.
Employed by a meat company in 2012, and subsequently unemployed, Mr Porter had submitted five original and three amended income tax returns for the 2012-16 financial years, claiming he had received more than $3 million in total in salary and wages from the company and that they had withheld amounts of tax from payments to him.
He managed to obtain four refund payments totalling $42,191 before the ATO started investigating the matter.
Mr Porter continued to increase his claims each time he lodged, with further refunds of just over $1 million intercepted by the Tax Office.
Facing the Perth District Court on Wednesday, Mr Porter was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail and was also ordered to repay the $42,191 that he had fraudulently obtained.
ATO assistant commissioner Ian Read said the false reporting of income in a tax return to obtain a financial advantage was blatant fraud and would not be tolerated.
“This outcome highlights that people who try to cheat the tax and super systems will get caught and we will take firm action,” Mr Read said.
“We know most people do the right thing, but this type of behaviour is blatant fraud against the Commonwealth.
“Tax crime is not victimless. Mr Potter effectively stole money from the pockets of taxpayers, money that was otherwise set to fund vital public services that the community relies upon.”
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Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.