A Perth accountant has been sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for tax fraud after he was convicted of both obtaining and attempting to obtain over $250,000 from his clients and the ATO.

On 21 February 2019, the Perth District Court heard that during his time as an accountant at Finkelstein Hickmott between May 2016 and July 2017, Shane Read lodged 21 of his client’s tax returns without authorisation and accessed four client’s Activity Statements.

Moreover, Mr Read sought to obtain further funds from the ATO via an unauthorised BAS lodgement containing false information, following which an ATO audit revealed that he had obtained financial advantage committing fraud in the name of unwitting clients. Relevantly, Mr Read was found to have altered bank account details to divert ATO refunds to his personal bank account without his client’s knowledge.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Roach has welcomed the sentence, asserting that the ATO “…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.”