The Australian Taxation Office has sent a stark reminder of the consequences of fudging a tax return, with an example of a woman who now has three convictions on her criminal record.
Helen Feulufai, from Crestmead in the south of Brisbane, was convicted in Brisbane Magistrates Court for making false statements on her tax returns.
The court heard she was provided with "a full work uniform, personal protective equipment and tools" by her employer – and was never required to travel or use a car for her work as a hospital chef.
But she still claimed clothing and travel costs as work-related deductions on her tax returns for financial years from 2016 to 2018, according to the ATO.
Feulufai also claimed charitable donations as tax deductions, even though the recipient organisation wasn't eligible as such.
"If you intend to push the boundaries, or perhaps fudge some parts of your return the ATO has you in its sights," said ATO assistant commissioner Peter Vujanic in June.
"Taxpayers who can’t substantiate their claims should expect to have them refused, and may be penalised for failing to take reasonable care when submitting their tax return."
The court ordered Feulufai to pay back the $45,000 she received as tax deductions, as well as a fine of $3,000, a payment of $20,000 to the Commissioner of Taxation, plus court costs.
The ATO stated that Feulufai had previously been audited for similar behaviour, and was sent a letter informing her about legitimate travel, vehicle and charity expense deductions.
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