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  • Perth Accountant sent to jail for tax fraud

    A 33-year-old Perth Certified Practising Accountant was today sentenced in the Perth District Court to four years’ jail for tax fraud, after being convicted of obtaining and attempting to obtain over $250,000 in total from his clients and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

    As an employee of Finkelstein Hickmott, between May 2016 and July 2017 Mr Shane Read lodged twenty one of his clients' Income Tax Returns (ITR) without authorisation and accessed four of his clients' Activity Statements credit account balances resulting in the wrongful payment of tax refunds into his own bank account.

    After a pre-issue audit by the ATO of an unauthorised BAS lodgment which contained false information in a further attempt to obtain funds from the ATO, it was discovered Mr Read obtained a financial advantage committing fraud in the name of unwitting clients. Mr Read was busted altering the bank account details of his clients to divert ATO refunds to his personal bank account details without his clients' knowledge.

    ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Roach welcomed the sentence and said it reflected the serious nature of Mr Read’s crimes.

    “Tax and BAS agents, accountants and other trusted advisors have a critical role as intermediaries, conduits and influencers of behaviour in the tax and superannuation system.

    “The ATO has a strong commitment to protecting honest taxpayers by identifying and prosecuting any tax agents who abuse their position of trust by either conspiring with or against their clients to defraud the tax system.

    “The ATO has a range of sophisticated systems in place to identify risky behaviour and take action to improve compliance.

    “We welcome this sentence handed down today and we will continue to work with tax professionals to ensure the integrity of the system and to protect honest tax professionals and the community from these types of crimes.”

    If a taxpayer suspects or is aware of a tax agent who is involved in tax fraud, they can report it confidentially at ato.gov.au/reportaconcern or call 1800 060 062.

    Taxpayers can also make a complaint or check if their tax practitioner is registered on the Tax Practitioners Board website at tpb.gov.auExternal Link.

    Last modified: 21 Feb 2019QC 57995