A 50-year-old Adelaide woman was sentenced in the South Australia District Court on 30 May 2019, to two years and nine months to be served on home detention. Ms Linda Taylor, was convicted of goods and services tax (GST) fraud made in Business Activity Statements (BAS) lodged between April 2013 and September 2015. She was also ordered to perform 150 hours of community service and pay reparations of $137,936.
Ms Taylor, a sole trader of a home styling business trading as Signature Styling Design Innovation, lodged 32 monthly BAS with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Over this period, Ms Taylor fraudulently obtained $138,076 in GST refunds.
The audit found Ms Taylor claimed a total of $2,023,646 in capital and non-capital purchases in her BAS, with her overall reported sales during the same period inclusive of GST being $259,977. To support these claims, Ms Taylor supplied false documents to the ATO.
The court found these claims to be entirely fraudulent. Signature Styling was not entitled to GST refunds that had been claimed and received.
The audit found Ms Taylor used the money obtained to fund private expenses like school and vet fees, meals at restaurants and hotels as well as significant spending on hair and beauty services, clothing, shoes and accessories.
Assistant Commissioner Peter Vujanic welcomes the sentence handed down and the message it sends about the significant impact tax fraud has not only on those directly affected, but also on the community through taxes which are not paid.
“This wasn’t an honest mistake by a small business owner trying to do the right thing – it was a calculated and deliberate attempt to commit fraud and steal money from taxpayers.
“Taxation fraud has a significant impact on all Australians – every dollar defrauded is money diverted from the community,” Mr Vujanic said.
If a member of the community has any knowledge or concerns about someone doing the wrong thing they can report it online at ato.gov.au/reportaconcern or by calling 1800 060 062.