A tax professional from the Sydney suburb of Mount Druitt has been sentenced to 20 months in jail, having pleaded guilty to dishonestly causing a loss to the Commonwealth of nearly $180,000 by lodging false income tax returns and amendments without his clients’ knowledge.
He was also ordered at the Sydney District Court to pay $179,826 in reparation.
Falsified clients’ tax returns to ATO
Hussain Nazeer, a formerly registered Business Activity Statement (BAS) agent, lodged 22 fraudulent income tax returns for 14 of his clients between 2010 and 2013.
According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), this resulted in $23,000 of refunds that he kept for himself. Nazeer’s clients provided honest information about their income and deductions, but he submitted different information in their returns.
The convicted man also lodged 108 false tax return amendments on behalf of 37 taxpayers without their knowledge. His false claims, which mostly related to car and medical expenses, resulted in an extra $156,000 in refunds that went straight to his bank account.
ATO welcomes the court’s sentence
ATO Assistant Commissioner, Adam Kendrick, welcomed the sentence handed down by the court.
“Tax and BAS agents play a vital role in contributing to and protecting the integrity of the Australian tax and super systems. The majority of registered agents do the right thing, but unfortunately there are some agents who take advantage of their trusted position for financial benefit,” Kendrick said.
The ATO has a program dedicated to identifying and addressing agents whose behaviour has an immediate and ongoing threat to the integrity of the tax and super systems, their clients, and the wider Australian community.
“As demonstrated in today’s case, even registered tax professionals can be dishonest and take advantage of their clients. That is why it’s important for the ATO to maintain the integrity of the tax profession and weed out those who try to undermine their trusted position.”
Kendrick added: “Mr Nazeer’s actions showed a complete disregard for not only the law, but also his clients’ trust by lodging fraudulent tax returns and amendments in their names.”