Under-reporting client earnings in order to boost tax returns — the additional funds from which were withheld from clients — has seen a tax agent jailed for a year.
According to the ATO, Sydney man Nigel Bradshaw was given the prison sentence by Parramatta Court, after the scheme defrauded the ATO of more than $80,000, while eight clients also lost a further $10,000 plus.
The Tax Office said that Mr Bradshaw had under-reported the clients’ earnings expressly to generate higher income tax refunds, before “pocketing the inflated difference”.
In other instances, it said that Mr Bradshaw filed the correct tax return data, but still withheld portions of the clients’ refunds.
It is not the first time Mr Bradshaw has fallen afoul of tax agent rules either, with the ATO stating that he had previously been investigated by the Tax Practitioners Board, with his registration ultimately terminated in July 2015.
“Taxpayers should be able to trust their registered tax professional to do the right thing when handling their tax affairs,” the ATO’s acting assistant commissioner, David Mendoza, said in welcoming the sentence.
“Lodging fraudulent tax returns on behalf of clients and then stealing the tax refunds is not only a clear breach of trust, but also serious fraud.”
In addition to the prison sentence, Mr Bradshaw was ordered to repay the ATO in full.
The ATO is urging anyone with knowledge or suspicions of impropriety to report it by phoning 1800 060 062 or completing the online tip-off form.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.