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$35m offshore tax evasion scheme sees tax agent banned

Tax

A tax agent has now been struck off the Tax Practitioners Board’s register for attempting to conceal over $35 million in capital gains through multiple offshore entities.

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The Tax Practitioners Board has now terminated the registration of Peter Biantes, the former owner, director, finance director and company secretary of Lemnos Foods Pty Ltd.

He has also been banned for the maximum period of five years.

While it is understood that the TPB’s disqualification and banning are unrelated to Mr Biantes’ role as interim chair at ASX-listed Wattle Health Australia, the company announced Mr Biantes’ resignation from the board on 16 June.

A TPB investigation found that Mr Biantes had allegedly reported over $10 million of attributable income through an onshore component of capital gains to the ATO but had concealed the existence of an offshore balance of over $35 million, through the creation of entities registered overseas to receive the proceeds.

In doing so, the TPB found that Mr Biantes deliberately tried to avoid the tax implications of the sale of a business, intentionally misled the ATO and obstructed the proper administration of the taxation laws.

Mr Biantes was also found to have made false statements to the TPB in two of his annual declarations and an application for renewal of registration, and repeatedly failed to comply with taxation laws in the conduct of his affairs including in relation to the timeliness and accuracy of his tax returns.

“Through serious and repeated misconduct, Mr Biantes attempted to undermine the integrity of the taxation system,” said TPB chair Ian Klug.

“Terminating and banning an agent from applying for registration is the firmest sanction that can be imposed by the board and is never taken lightly. The severity of Mr Biantes’ conduct requires the maximum ban to be imposed.

“The TPB is committed to targeting practitioners who undertake, or facilitate, black economy behaviour and tax evasion through schemes such as offshoring and failing to declare proceeds and profits. Where we discover this behaviour, we will act swiftly and take strong action.”

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian

AUTHOR

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.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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