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WA man sentenced to jail after reporting he earned $3 million while unemployed

Last updated 24 November 2020

A 28-year-old man from Western Australia has today been sentenced at the Perth District Court to 2.5 years jail for attempting to obtain just over $1 million in fraudulent tax refunds. He was also ordered to pay $42,191.06 in reparations.

Mr Reece Potter submitted five original and three amended income tax returns for the 2012 to 2016 financial years. The income tax returns falsely stated that he was working for a meat company and that they had withheld amounts of tax from payments to him. As a result of his fraudulent claims, Mr Potter received four electronic refunds totalling $42,191.06. The remaining refunds, which amounted to $1,002,745.86, were stopped by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) pending further investigation.

Following investigation, the ATO found that Mr Potter had been employed by the meat company in the 2012 income year, but he had falsified his assessable income and tax withheld to obtain a larger refund. For the next four years, Mr Potter claimed he had received more than $3 million in total in salary and wages from the company, increasing his claims each time he lodged without realising the ATO was already looking into him.

Assistant Commissioner Ian Read said falsely reporting your income in your tax return to obtain a financial advantage is a crime and we will not tolerate this behaviour.

"This outcome highlights that people who try to cheat the tax and super systems will get caught and we will take firm action,” Assistant Commissioner Ian Read said.

“We know most people do the right thing, but this type of behaviour is blatant fraud against the Commonwealth.”

“Tax crime is not victimless. Mr Potter effectively stole money from the pockets of taxpayers, money that was otherwise set to fund vital public services that the community relies upon.”

You can anonymously report tax evasion and crime activities by completing a tip-off form on the ATO website or by calling 1800 060 062.

This matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.