Refund Fraudster*

A woman has been sentenced to three years’ jail by the New South Wales District Court after being convicted of three counts of refund fraud.

Over a two month period in 2010, the woman and her co-accused (who was sentenced to two years’ jail last year) deceived three registered tax agents by using forged documents to lodge a total of 217 income tax returns with the ATO on behalf of unsuspecting taxpayers, claiming a total of $1.335 million in fraudulent tax refunds.

This is a clear case of someone taking advantage of the ‘self-assessment’ system we have here in Australia where submitting returns includes a heavy duty of honesty. The ATO remind us all that they take any form of tax crime seriously and there are increasing controls and systems in place to detect potential fraud.

As a registered tax agent, hearing this has happened is so disappointing – not only because it is against the law, but because it puts pressure on us to question our clients even further than we already do.

Some have argued that we should do away with the ‘self-assessment’ system, however this would increased the costs of tax collection to the Government and we all know this cost would be passed onto us as taxpayers.

How about we all just do the right thing hey?

*Note: this article is adapted from the NTAA ‘The Voice’


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