‘Fake car salesman’ gets three years’ jail in tax fraud bust

A fake car salesman who tried to claim several hundred thousand dollars worth of dodgy refunds has been sentenced to three years in jail for tax fraud.

The Queensland man, who registered an ABN in 2010 claiming to run a business in the cafe and restaurant industry, tried to claim over $220,000 in GST refunds he wasn’t entitled to between 2011 and 2015.

When audited by the tax office, the man contradicted his registered business activity, claiming he was in the business of selling cars.

The businessman claimed $2.4 million in expenses and purchases, which he claimed were funded by inheritance, but the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) found there was no evidence of sales or purchases corresponding to the claims.

The prosecution comes amid an escalation in ATO enforcement activity designed to stamp out black economy operators, who are driving the majority of Australia’s small business tax gap.

Acting assistant commissioner David Mendoza said it was “astounding” to see tactics such as fake car sales being used to cheat taxpayers.

“Evading your tax obligations, or trying to get more than you’re entitled to, is a crime,” Mendoza said in a statement circulated Wednesday.

“We will not tolerate this behaviour.”

“If you’ve made an honest mistake or are falling behind on your obligations, we will work with you to find a solution, but people who deliberately set out to cheat the tax system will be held to account,” Mendoza said.

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