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Tax fraud lands Mildura man in jail


Failing to remit more than $660,000 in tax withholding for his 49 employees has seen a labour hire operator sentenced to jail.

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According to a statement from the ATO yesterday, the regulator has secured a conviction against Mildura resident Suleyman Erdogan in the County Court of Victoria for “Pay As You Go Withholding (PAYGW) fraud relating to illegal phoenix activity”.

Mr Erdogan had failed to remit over $664,000 in PAYGW from the 49 employees of his labour hire business, Sunraysia Harvesting Contractors Pty Ltd, which operated within the agriculture sector, the ATO said. 

“Mr Erdogan also arranged for more than 136 false income tax returns to be lodged on behalf of 49 of his employees. Many of the tax returns were lodged on behalf of people on working holiday visas using identities of former employees who had departed Australia,” the ATO said.

“In total, $187,994 in tax refunds was paid.”

Focus on phoenix activity 

For several years, the federal government has served warnings about its plans to target illegal phoenix activity. 

Most recently, the government announced the director penalty regime will be extended to GST, luxury car tax and wine equalisation tax, making directors personally liable for company debts. This was part of a broader package of reforms to “deter and disrupt” illegal phoenix activity.

You can read about the government’s plans in full here.

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