A tax agent has been sentenced to five years in prison for tax fraud and money laundering after a joint ATO and Australian Federal Police investigation.
The Sydney District Court has sentenced Md Zahidul Kabir’s to five years in jail, after being convicted of taking more than $75,000 from his clients and the ATO.
The joint ATO and AFP investigation for that Mr Kabir fraudulently used 16 of his clients’ tax file numbers to lodge false tax returns resulting in the wrongful payment of tax refunds into his own bank accounts.
It also found Mr Kabir laundered money from 22 other taxpayers by withdrawing their tax refunds from their bank accounts without their knowledge.
Mr Kabir was sentenced on 16 charges of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception; nine offences of dishonestly causing a risk of loss to the Commonwealth; and one charge of dealing with money to the value of $50,000 or more that he believed to be the proceeds of crime.
ATO assistant commissioner Peter Vujanic welcomed the sentence and said it reflected the Tax Office’s commitment to protecting honest tax practitioners.
“The ATO has a strong commitment to protecting honest taxpayers by identifying and prosecuting any tax professional who abuses their position of trust by either conspiring with or against their clients to defraud the tax system,” Mr Vujanic said.
“We welcome the sentence handed down in this case and the message it sends about the significant impact tax fraud has not only on those directly affected, but also on the community through taxes which are not paid.
“Tax agents, accountants and other trusted advisors have an important role to play in contributing to the integrity of the tax system as whole,” he added.
“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.”
The ATO recently spoke on its agent assurance program, calling on tax agents to dob in rogue agents as it looks to ensure a level playing field for the profession.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.