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  • Jail time for audacious business tax claims

    A South Australian man has today been sentenced to 2 years and 4 months jail for attempting to obtain nearly $1.5 million in refunds he wasn’t entitled to.

    Mr Adam Hamshere, 39, 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.

    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.

    Unsurprisingly, this attracted our attention. ATO systems flagged this claim initiating an audit almost immediately. Mr Hamshere’s brazen behaviour didn’t stop there, he 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 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.

    Mr Hamshere was charged in Adelaide District Court with six counts of section s11.1 & s134.2(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 as he attempted, by deception, to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage from the Commonwealth.

    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.

    “The tax and superannuation systems are valuable community assets owned by all Australians and we all have a role in protecting them.” Mr Mendoza said.

    If you are aware of fraudulent behaviour in our community you can report it confidentially at ato.gov.au/tipoff or call 1800 060 062.

    Last modified: 31 Jul 2019QC 59802