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ATO jails international student for $117k tax return

·2-min read
Banker holding a burglar piggy bank.
ATO jails international student for $117k tax return. Source: Getty

An international student has been handed a jail sentence after the Australian Taxation Office received a tip-off that the perpetrator was involved in a tax fraud scheme.

According to the ATO, the student had obtained the visa details of a number of foreign nationals living in Australia, and used them to generate tax file numbers and lodge paper tax returns on their behalf.

The student received more than $117,000 in tax returns, which were paid into accounts they managed. 

The ATO said an overseas caller had reported the fraud after they approached to take part in the scheme. 

ATO tip-offs surge

In the 2019-20 financial year, the ATO received around 56,000 tip-offs – 71 per cent of which were analysed and deemed suitable for further investigation.

In this financial year, the ATO has received 19,000 tip-offs, with 10,400 of those relating to JobKeeper.

In total, 16 per cent of the total tip-offs received have been allegations of misconduct in relation to the Government’s Covid-19 stimulus measures, the ATO revealed.

“The top five categories of JobKeeper tip-offs received relate to allegations that employers are not passing on the full $1500, allegations that businesses have not met the turnover requirement, fair work issues, employee eligibility and the ‘one in all in’ principle,” the ATO stated.

“The top five industries reported for the 2020 financial year were building and construction, cafés and restaurants, hairdressing and beauty services, cereal grain wholesaling, management advice and related consulting services, and road freight transport.”

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How do I report fraud to the ATO?

If you think something dodgy is going on at your workplace or in your community, you can lodge a tip-off form with the ATO, or give them a call on 1800 060 062.

When you are making a tip-off, you should give the ATO all the information you have about your concerns, eg:

  • The name of the business or individual;

  • The address of the business or individual;

  • Their phone number or website;

  • Any social media details; and

  • Their ABN (if applicable).

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