A brazen attempt to claim close to $1.5 million in GST and wine equalisation tax refunds through an apparently fake business has landed a South Australian man in jail.
Charged in the Adelaide District Court with six counts of attempting, by deception, to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage from the Commonwealth, Adam Hamshere has been sentenced to two years and four months’ jail for attempting to obtain nearly $1.5 million in refunds to which he wasn’t entitled.
The court heard that Mr Hamshere was enrolled in a tertiary accounting course and used his accounting knowledge to set up a fake business. He obtained an ABN, and later registered for GST and wine equalisation tax (WET), claiming he sold cigars.
It is understood that Mr Hamshere never worked in the accounting industry.
On 31 March 2016, Mr Hamshere lodged five business activity statements (BAS), claiming he was entitled to GST and WET refunds of $1,444,069.
Despite ATO systems flagging the claim, resulting in an immediate audit, Mr Hamshere subsequently rang the ATO almost a dozen times asking for his refund, and during the audit claimed his paper and electronic records had been stolen.
Detailed investigations by the Tax Office could find no evidence of business activity, nor evidence of Mr Hamshere’s claims that all of his paper and electronic records had been stolen.
Acting ATO assistant commissioner David Mendoza said the strong sentence was a fitting result for such an audacious attempt to cheat the tax system.
“Those people who try to evade or cheat the tax and super system will get caught and we will take firm action. We will not tolerate this type of behaviour,” Mr Mendoza said.
“The tax and superannuation systems are valuable community assets owned by all Australians and we all have a role in protecting them.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.
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