Can you go to jail for lodging incorrect tax returns with the ATO?
In Australia, you can go to jail for lodging incorrect tax returns or incorrect business activity statements with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Tax fraud is a serious criminal offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Ignorance of the law is not a defence. Neither is failing to get proper legal advice. The law in Australia requires taxpayers to get legal advice on their tax affairs, understand their legal obligations under the law and meet their tax obligations by the required deadline.
There are very heavy fines and penalties, including imprisonment, for failing to meet your tax obligations in Australia.
To understand and meet your tax obligations to the ATO, you should contact King Lawyers and get legal advice on your Australian tax affairs.
Three years and three months jail for $200,000 income tax fraud on the ATO
On 30 May 2019, a 56-year-old New South Wales man was sentenced to three years and three months jail a decade after he fraudulently obtained and attempted to obtain more than $200,000 from the ATO. He was also ordered to pay reparations of $154,188.
Between 2002 and 2004, Mr Peter Garven lodged three fraudulent income tax returns on behalf of Peter Garven Consulting and Garven Resources, netting himself $102,504 in refunds he was not entitled to. After submitting a string of false business activity statements, Mr Garven fraudulently obtained a further $51,684 in GST refunds.
Two years and three months jail for $117,000 tax fraud on the ATO
In March 2019, Mr Tharun Likki was sentenced to two years and three months jail for fraudulently obtaining more than $117,000, and attempting to obtain another $22,180. Working with others, Mr Likki illegally obtained the visa details of a number of Indian nationals living in Australia, using their details to generate Tax File Numbers (TFN) and then lodged paper tax returns on their behalf.
Six years jail with a non-parole period of two years nine months for $820,241 GST fraud on the ATO
Mr Lee, from Queensland, was found guilty and sentenced to six years imprisonment for lodging false business activity statements for two companies, receiving GST refunds he was not entitled to. He will be eligible for parole after two years nine months have been served. The Judge granted a reparation order of $820,241.
Three years jail with a non-parole period of 18 months for $285,568 GST fraud on the ATO
Mr Chan, from New South Wales, was found guilty of lodging false business activity statements for three entities associated with him, and claiming GST refunds he was not entitled to. The Court issued a reparation order of $285,568.
Three years and two months jail for tax fraud of more than $1 million on the ATO
On 22 June 2017, Rishi Khandelwal, 34, was sentenced to three years and two months’ imprisonment in the Canberra Supreme Court, after he stole more than $1 million by using overseas students’ names to make false tax claims between 2008 and 2010.
Khandelwal, a public servant during the two-year charge period, lodged 302 false tax returns with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to obtain tax refunds that were paid into accounts controlled by him. In total he embezzled $1,069,556.62.
Three month suspended jail sentence, 12-month good behaviour bond with a recognisance of $5,000 and $2,700 fine for income tax fraud of $2,306 on the ATO
Mr Mortensen, from the Northern Territory, claimed work related expenses that he was not entitled to in his 2014–15 tax return, which resulted in a tax shortfall of $2,306. During the audit process, the taxpayer provided an ATO officer with a fabricated document in an attempt to substantiate his false claims. He was convicted of two charges.
Do you need an experienced tax lawyer to give you legal advice on your Australian tax affairs?
This content of this article is offered as general information only and should not be relied on as specific legal advice on the consequences of lodging incorrect tax returns or incorrect business activity statements with the ATO.
To get legal advice from King Lawyers on your specific circumstances, please contact us to arrange an initial consultation with our expert tax lawyers.