The ATO said in a statement that Queensland man Robert Hill was sentenced to three years in jail by the Hervey Bay District Court over a GST fraud that ran from August 2011 to February 2015.
According to the ATO, Mr Hill had registered a family partnership with his wife in 2010, describing the business activity as “cafes and restaurants”, but subsequently told tax auditors that his business involved buying and selling vehicles.
Mr Hill also claimed to have received a sizeable inheritance, allowing him to spend more than $2.4 million on business purchases and expenses, it said.
In total, $228,328 in GST refunds were claimed over the three-and-a-half-year period, but a “comprehensive audit found there was no evidence of sales or purchases reported by the entity during this period to support these claims”.
Acting assistant commissioner David Mendoza said that tactics such as these to cheat the tax system were astounding, and said that the Tax Office is actively pursuing people who deliberately do the wrong thing.
“Evading your tax obligations, or trying to get more than you’re entitled to, is a crime. We will not tolerate this behaviour,” he said.
“When people claim a refund they’re not entitled to, they’re stealing from the community and disadvantaging everyone who does the right thing.”
Mr Mendoza added that it is only deliberate tax avoidance or fraudulent activity that will “be held to account”.
“If you’ve made an honest mistake or are falling behind on your obligations, we will work with you to find a solution,” he said.