COFFS Coast residents are being urged to think twice before trying to scam the tax system after almost 500 people were convicted of tax offences in three months.
Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo said yesterday 489 people were convicted between January 1 and March 31 this year for tax and superannuation offences.
The prosecutions range from offences such as failing to lodge forms to serious fraud such as GST refund fraud, including one NSW man who was found guilty of GST fraud after submitting false BAS and trying to claim $500,000 in his role as company director.
He was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison, with a non-parole period of two years.
“These prosecutions demonstrate our commitment to protect honest citizens from those that seek to abuse Australia’s tax and superannuation systems,” Mr D’Ascenzo said.
“People who commit serious fraud, don’t declare all their income or fail to meet their obligations cheat the majority of the community who do the right thing. They not only deprive the community of revenue, but often gain an unfair advantage over others.”
He said there was a range of ways to detect people who sought to avoid their tax and superannuation responsibilities by not lodging returns, through tax evasion or criminal fraud.
“Methods of detection include data matching, comparing third party information and analysing industry norms,” he said.
“Last financial year we conducted over 16,000 audits, reviews and investigations. Close to 3000 cases of non-compliance were taken to court and successfully prosecuted.
“This financial year we have invested in new technology designed specifically to help us identify sophisticated, organised activities through to the most basic of scams.”
He said anyone struggling to meet their obligations should phone 13 11 42, to discuss help.
Anyone who suspects someone is evading their tax and superannuation obligations or possibly conducting fraudulent activities can report it by calling the ATO on 1800 060 062.