Show download pdf controls
  • Tax agent sentenced to over two years’ jail

    A registered tax agent has been sentenced to 29 months’ imprisonment with 18 to serve for attempting to defraud the Commonwealth of approximately $550,000, and dealing with the proceeds of crime.

    Arjuna Samarakoon was sentenced at Melbourne County Courthouse on Wednesday for his role as a tax professional in a company which fraudulently claimed refunds on two separate occasions in 2013 from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) under the Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive, with a total value of $549,719. Mr Samarakoon transferred the majority of the funds to his individual bank account making a personal gain of $380,000.

    ATO Deputy Commissioner Will Day said the seriousness of this abuse of the R&D Tax Incentive by individuals such as Mr Samarakoon has resulted in the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce making its investigation into serious R&D Tax Incentive abuse a priority for cross-agency action.

    “The R&D Tax Incentive is designed to encourage Australian businesses to invest in new research and development of technology,” Mr Day said.

    “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.”

    Earlier this year, ATO and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) released four Taxpayer Alerts as a warning to those seeking to deliberately exploit the R&D Tax Incentive program.

    The Government’s multi-agency Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) has raised over $391 million in tax liabilities, completed 587 audits and obtained convictions of four people.

    If you suspect or are aware of fraudulent behaviour you can report it confidentially at or call 1800 060 062.

    More information

    The ATO and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science encourage anyone seeking to claim the R&D Tax Incentive to find out about how to correctly apply and what they can and can’t claim.

    Information about the program, eligibility criteria, and how to access the incentive is available at:

    Detailed information is also available in Taxpayer Alerts TA 2017/2, TA 2017/3, TA 2017/4, TA 2017/5 and TA 2015/3.

    Last modified: 06 Oct 2017QC 53463