A fake tax agent who stole $43,205 worth of refunds has been sentenced to five months jail after fleeing Australia 14 years’ ago.
The Victorian man, Ibrahim El-Hassan, pretended to be a fake tax agent and lodged five tax returns on behalf of people who thought he was a tax agent.
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The Australian Tax Office (ATO) and Victoria Police launched an investigation in 2006 after a bank employee saw an account had received two $10,000 tax refunds on the same day but under different names.
El-Hassan claimed motor-vehicle expenses which generated higher refunds and claimed the $43,205 difference for himself. He also tried to claim another $18,862, however the ATO prevented this.
Days after launching the investigation, El-Hassan left Australia.
“Today’s outcome shows that just because you’ve left the country, doesn’t mean your problems will go away. We will make sure to secure an outcome for the benefit of honest taxpayers and tax professionals,” Assistant Commissioner Adam Kendrick said on Monday.
“Mr El-Hassan’s actions showed a complete disregard for not only the law, but also his client’s trust by lodging fraudulent tax returns on their behalf while pretending to be a tax agent and providing services without a registration.”
El-Hassan has been ordered to pay $43,205.63 in reparation.
Kendrick said unregistered agents risk not only taxpayers but the reputation of registered tax agents.
He said a clear sign you’re dealing with a fraud is that a supposed tax agent is claiming refunds that are too good to be true.
Additionally, a registered tax agent will never need access to a client’s myGov credentials as they will have their own dedicated ATO Online services portal.
“Your tax agent has access to your personal identifying information like your Tax File Number.
“Giving information like this to an untrustworthy person can end badly, but you can protect yourself by checking that your tax agent is registered and never sharing your myGov login details and passwords or access to your myGov account with anyone, including your tax agent,” Kendrick said.
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