Victorian accountant and banking director sent to jail for tax fraud

A 55-YEAR-OLD Melbourne former tax accountant was recently sentenced in the County Court to three years jail for tax fraud.

Immanuel Shmuel was convicted of attempting to obtain a financial advantage of more than $390,000 by amending his Business Activity Statements (BAS) to reduce his existing debt and receive a refund.

As the director, owner and authorised tax representative of E.C Services Pty Ltd (a bank franchisee), Mr Shmuel failed to lodge his BAS between July 2012 and June 2014. The ATO commenced an audit looking into the missing BAS, which resulted in almost $200,000 raised in outstanding debt and penalties.

When Mr Shmuel failed to pay the amount owing, the ATO applied to the Supreme Court to have the company wound up. But in the meantime, over a two day period, Mr Shmuel lodged 66 false BAS revisions, deliberately reducing the pay as you go (PAYG) withholding to nil.

Not only did this eliminate the debt, but it also created a purported credit of $144,538. Further investigations found the revisions were entirely fraudulent. Mr Shmuel subsequently requested a refund of the credit amount; however, the ATO did not pay out the refund.

Mr Shmuel’s tax practitioner registration was also terminated, and he has not lodged a new registration since.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Megan Croaker welcomed the sentence and said it reflected the serious nature of Mr Shmuel’s crimes.

“Tax professionals play an integral role in supporting the tax and super systems for all Australians," Ms Croaker said.

“We have a shared interest with registered agents, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and tax professional associations to protect the community and the integrity of Australia’s tax and super system.

“Those people who try to evade or cheat the system will get caught and firm action will be taken. We have systems in place to detect this type of behaviour and it will not be tolerated.

“We welcome the sentence and 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,” Ms Croaker said.

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



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