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Victorian accountant jailed for tax fraud

By Yasmine Masi13 April 2022

Melbourne-based former tax accountant, Immanuel Shmuel, has been sentenced to three years’ jail for tax fraud, after he was convicted of amending his Business Activity Statements (BAS) to gain a financial advantage.

Shmuel, the director, owner and authorised tax representative of bank franchisee E.C. Services Pty Ltd, attempted to reduce his existing debt and receive a refund of close to $150,000 after he failed to lodge his BAS between July 2012 and June 2014.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) subsequently launched an audit into the missing BAS, which raised $200,000 in outstanding debt and penalties. Shmuel again failed to pay the amount owing, after which the ATO applied to the Supreme Court to have his company wound up.

Shmuel also lodged 66 false BAS revisions that reduced his pay as you go (PAYG) withholding to nil, fraudulently eliminating the debt and creating a credit of $144,538.

Shmuel requested a refund of the credit amount which was not paid by the ATO. His tax practitioner registration was also terminated.

Megan Croaker, ATO Assistant Commissioner, said Shmuel’s sentence reflected the severity of his crimes.

“Tax professionals play an integral role in supporting the tax and super systems for all Australians,” she said.

“We have a shared interest with registered agents, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and tax professional associations to protect the community and the integrity of Australia’s tax and super system.

“Those people who try to evade or cheat the system will get caught and firm action will be taken. We have systems in place to detect this type of behaviour and it will not be tolerated.

“We welcome the sentence and 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.”

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