A 35 year old Launceston man has been charged over a significant alleged fraud totalling more than $1 million.
Following an extensive investigation over the past 18 months, officers from Tasmania Police and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) yesterday arrested and charged the man with 25 counts of Obtain Financial Advantage by Deception and 16 counts of Stealing by Misappropriation.
Police allege the man, in his role as a tax agent, misappropriated individual tax returns and falsified business activity statements for his financial benefit from September 2017- March 2020. His offending breached state and Commonwealth legislation. As a result of this misconduct, and following its own investigation, the Tax Practitioners Board terminated his tax agent registration in 2019.
“This is another example of Tasmania Police working with partner law enforcement agencies in often complex investigations requiring a range of skills, this extensive investigation has resulted in the charges laid,” Detective Inspector Kim Steven said.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Ian Read said the ATO is working directly to provide support to impacted clients of the tax agent.
“The majority of tax agents are trusted advisors who support the integrity of the tax system and their clients. However, when we identify tax agents who appear to be breaching the trust placed in them and defrauding their clients and the system, we take it seriously,” Mr Read said.
If you think you may be a victim of tax agent fraud, you should:
- Report the circumstances to the police
- Lodge a complaint with the TPB: https://www.tpb.gov.au/complaints
- Contact the ATO Client Identity Support Centre: 1800 467 033
More information is available at ato.gov.au/victimoftaxfraud
The man was bailed and will appear in the Launceston Magistrates Court on 26 May 2021.