Jason Wilson, a concreter from New South Wales, has been fined $2,000, ordered to pay a further $5,000 to the ATO and placed on a two-year good behaviour bond after he was convicted of making false and misleading statements.
Mr Wilson had originally lodged his 2017 income tax return through a tax agent, but lodged an amendment via myGov four months later.
According to the Tax Office, 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 amendments would have seen Mr Wilson being paid a $7,974 refund, but the ATO put a halt to the refund and commenced an audit.
During the audit, Mr Wilson provided ATO officers with a payment summary to validate his claims, but it was subsequently proven to be false when the businesses confirmed that 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.
The Magistrate who sentenced Mr Wilson commented that although he described himself as an “unsophisticated concreter”, Mr Wilson’s conduct had 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.
The ATO believes the case serves as a timely reminder that overclaiming will be detected and penalties may apply.
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.