Just a week after a builder was jailed for a multimillion dollar GST fraud, another man has also been sent to prison for claiming false GST refunds, this time for a business that wasn’t trading.
At the end of January, Sydney resident Benjamin Ensor was handed a six-year jail term over a tax fraud worth $3.4 million.
In a separate case heard by the Maroochydore District Court, Sunshine Coast resident David Latemore was given a 30-month (2.5 years) prison sentence for obtaining $138,723 in false GST refunds.
These were accrued through eight BAS lodgments submitted between October 2008 and February 2013.
The court found Latemore attempted to obtain a further $962,772 in the same way.
According to the ATO, Latemore had claimed to be the director of a motor vehicle and yacht business. However, an audit found no business activity at all, with no sales, purchases or GST payments, and hence no entitlement to claim GST refunds.
In a statement, the Tax Office said that fraud was supported by fake documentation in a bid to support the claims.
Latemore allegedly used the funds to purchase personal items, including motor vehicles and property.
The ATO said the verdict brings the “long-ongoing audit and investigation” to an end, which had been drawn out because of “extensions sought by Mr Latemore during the audit period time to provide required information”.
“This wasn’t an honest mistake by a small business owner trying to do the right thing – it was a calculated and deliberate attempt to commit fraud and steal money from taxpayers,” ATO assistant commissioner Peter Vujanic said.
“The ATO has sophisticated systems in place to detect deliberate attempts to commit fraud and we will rigorously pursue taxpayers who are found to be cheating the system through the court system.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.