A Victorian labour hire boss has been jailed for defrauding the tax office of more than $600,000.
Sunraysia Harvesting Contractors director Suleyman Erdogan, 51, will spend six months behind bars after after withholding $664,711 in taxes relating to 49 employees.
The Mildura man was convicted in Victoria's County Court of two counts of dishonestly causing a loss to the commonwealth and one count of dishonestly obtaining a gain from the commonwealth.
He used illegal phoenix activity, involving the creation of a company to continue trading on behalf of another which was deliberately liquidated to avoid paying debts, to avoid making payments known as 'pay-as-you-go withholding'.
This is money withheld from employee and contractor wages and paid to the Australian Taxation Office.
Erdogan, who offered farm work including fruit picking and packing in Queensland and Western Australia, also arranged for more than 136 false tax returns to be lodged on behalf of 49 employees.
Many of these returns were lodged on behalf of people on working holiday visas, using identities of former employees who had left Australia.
Erdogan and financial services advisor Samantha Toffoletti - working for SME's R Us - registered the shell companies Danood, Jameron and Kigra to take the tax liabilities of Sunraysia between 2011 and 2014.
"This case shows a deliberate act to attempt to defraud the tax and super system," ATO Assistant Commissioner Peter Vujanic said after Erdogan was sentenced.
"Erdogan purposefully engaged Mrs Toffoletti in a calculated attempt to evade his tax liabilities and subsequently defraud the tax system."
Toffoletti was handed an 18-month good behaviour bond in the County Court for dishonest use of her position.
Australian Associated Press