An Adelaide man who made up employers and income to defraud the Australian Tax Office out of half a million dollars has been jailed for five years.

Key points:

  • Joshua Luke Matheson received more than $29,000 after filing a fraudulent tax return
  • He was found guilty by jury of dishonestly obtaining the money
  • His five-year jail sentence will begin in September 2024, when his non-parole period for a prior offence is due to end

Joshua Luke Matheson, 34, was found guilty by a jury of dishonestly obtaining and attempting to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage by deception.

The father-of-three received more than $29,000 after filing a fraudulent tax return to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for the 2013/14 financial year via e-tax.

It was later found Matheson had actually received just over $5,000 in Centrelink payments that financial year.

The following year Matheson filed another fraudulent tax return via MyGov claiming he had received more than $900,000 in income for the 2014/15 financial year from three employers, had more than $460,000 withheld in tax and claimed almost $850,000 in deductions.

In sentencing, Judge Liesl Chapman said the ATO never made that payment and Matheson became “impatient to receive that money”, contacting the ATO several times.

“It must have soon become obvious to you the tax office suspected it was a fraud,” she said.

“The jury rejected those claims; the evidence against you was overwhelming.”

Judge Liesl Chapman said it was important to protect the integrity of Australia’s tax system.(ABC News)

Tax system ‘based on trust’, judge says

Judge Chapman sentenced Matheson to five years in prison with a non-parole period of two years and seven months for his offending which was committed “out of greed”.

“It is important the integrity of the tax system is protected by the courts by imposing significant punishment,” Judge Chapman said.

“The tax system relies heavily on self-assessment and self-reporting, it is based on trust and honesty and it is therefore open to abuse.

“Tax fraud inevitably has a flow-on effect to honest taxpayers.”

Judge Chapman said Matheson maintained his innocence and had shown no remorse nor made any attempt of reparation or sought rehabilitation.

Matheson is already serving a nine-year prison sentence for unrelated offences.

His sentence for this offending will begin in September 2024, when the non-parole period for his prior offending is due to end.

Commonwealth prosecutors had sought compensation of more than $29,000 but Judge Chapman declined to make a compensation order saying Matheson had no assets and was spending a lengthy amount of time in prison.

Posted , updated