The Federal Court has sentenced a tax adviser to seven and a half months in prison and fined him $640,000.
Brisbane-based Kent Scott Hacker will spend Christmas behind bars after receiving the seven and a half months sentence.
He, and his related companies, were also fined over $640,000 for multiple offences under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009.
The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) said it was a welcome outcome, and expressed concern that Hacker had continued to act illegally throughout the protracted investigation and litigation that has now seen him jailed.
The court granted the TPB's request for permanent injunctions restraining Hacker and his companies, One Stop Global Staffing and Naleview, from further provision of unregistered tax agent services.
Hacker was also restrained from providing BAS services whilst unregistered.
The ATO first raided the One Stop Global Staffing offices in November 2018 and found evidence that Hacker had been preparing and lodging thousands of tax returns for customers while completely unregistered.
The TPB acted on the information and by February 2019 had launched a Federal Court action against Hacker and his two companies.??
Hacker committed to the Federal Court that he would stop providing tax agent services to clients for a fee. However, the ATO found evidence that he continued his illegal actions - providing tax services to clients while unregistered.
The TPB successfully sought a court order forcing Hacker to display large notices at his offices warning taxpayers of the risks of using his services.
"The TPB will act firmly against those that act outside the law and supports the imposition of the penalties handed down to Mr Hacker and his associated companies. For nearly two years, Mr Hacker has brazenly and consistently ignored court orders and his behaviour has put his clients at risk and undermined the integrity of the taxation system," TPB chair Ian Klug said.
"The TPB will continue to target unregistered preparers to ensure the professional and ethical standards of the tax profession is maintained.
"The sentencing, fines of over $640,000 and the imprisonment of Mr Hacker, sends a strong message to other rogue advisers and the community that illegal acts of this nature will not be tolerated."