A jail term has been handed down for a registered tax agent who was found guilty of fraudulently obtaining around $550,000 in tax incentive funds.
Arjuna Samarakoon was sentenced in the Melbourne County Courthouse for his role in a company that fraudulently claimed $549,719 under the ATO’s Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive.
Samarakoon was found to have made a personal gain of $380,000 after transferring the majority of the funds to his personal bank account.
“The R&D Tax Incentive is designed to encourage Australian businesses to invest in new research and development of technology,” said ATO deputy commissioner Will Day.
“Those who deliberately do the wrong thing and claim the incentive which they are not entitled to will be caught and held to account for their actions.”
The conviction comes as the government’s Serious Financial Crime Taskforce, which involves the tax office and a number of other agencies, has recouped more than $391 million in tax liabilities and four convictions, the result of some 587 audits.
Meanwhile, last month, large accounting firm KPMG publicly urged the ATO to get tougher on expense deductions in tax returns, suggesting that average deductions are taking as much as $10 billion out of the ATO’s revenue entitlements.