Wollongong fraudster Rachel Saville was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison in the Port Kembla Local Court after she attempted to obtain more than $250,000 in fraudulent GST refunds.
The court heard Saville lodged 63 fraudulent business activity statements between February 2022 and July 2022, obtaining $73,650 and attempting to obtain a further $192,983 in fraudulent GST refunds.
Saville's moves were picked up by ATO investigators under Operation Protego, a scheme that was initiated in response to widespread GST fraud activity.
ATO Deputy Commissioner John Ford said the ATO took GST fraud seriously.
"Tax crime is not victimless and those who engage in this activity are stealing funds that would otherwise be used for essential services," Mr Ford said.
"We've warned the community and have urged offenders to come forward to the ATO or face even more severe consequences."
Saville attempted to appeal her sentence, which was dismissed by the Wollongong District Court.
As part of Operation Protego, the ATO has taken action against more than 56,000 alleged offenders, and those involved in this fraud have already been handed in the order of $300 million in penalties and interest which continues to accrue.
"We are escalating our efforts to enforce repayment of this fraud, this includes continuing to work closely with state and federal law enforcement agencies to bring offenders to account," Mr Ford said.
"Our message is clear – if you don't run a business, you don't need an ABN and you can't claim GST refunds. This is fraud."