Perth-based accountant, Shane Read, has been sentenced in the Perth District Court to four years’ jail for tax fraud, after he was convicted of obtaining and attempting to obtain over $250,000 in total from his clients and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Read, an employee of Finkelstein Hickmott, lodged 21 of his client’s income tax returns without authorisations, and accessed four of his client’s activity statements credit account balances resulting in wrongful payment of tax refunds into his own bank account.
Following the ATO’s pre-issue audit of an authorised business activity statement (BAS) lodgement, which contained false information in a further attempt to obtain funds from the ATO, it was discovered that Read had obtained a financial advantage committing fraud.
ATO assistant commissioner, Tim Roach, said tax and BAS agents, accountants and other trusted advisors have a critical role as intermediaries, conduits and influencers of the behaviour in the tax and superannuation system.
“The ATO has a strong commitment to protecting honest taxpayers by identifying and prosecuting any tax agents who abuse their position of trust by either conspiring with or against their clients to defraud the tax system,” he said.
“We welcome this sentence handed down today and we will continue to work with tax professionals to ensure the integrity of the system and to protect honest tax professionals and the community from these types of crimes.”