Geraldton woman spared jail for repeated failure to lodge BAS and tax returns
A 65-year-old Geraldton woman who repeatedly failed to lodge outstanding tax returns has narrowly avoided jail.
Judith Ann Ahearn, a partner in a road freight business, appeared in Geraldton Magistrate’s Court on Monday, July 9, after previously pleading guilty to 91 counts of failing to comply with a court order.
Ahearn had failed to lodge her Business Activity Statements since October 2008, and did not lodge her income tax returns in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 financial years.
The Australian Taxation Office had issued warnings and notices to Ahearn over the years.
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She also has two unpaid court-imposed fines of $30,000 and $20,000 for non-lodgement.
Assistant Commissioner Peter Vujanic said the court’s decision was a reminder of the consequences of refusing to engage with the ATO.
“When business owners continually refuse to meet their tax obligations, they are gaining an unfair advantage over the majority of businesses who are honest and pay their fair share,” he said.
“The ATO works hard to maintain a level playing field for all taxpayers and the court decision shows that no one is above the law.
“Despite our repeated attempts to engage with Ahearn, she has shown a complete disregard for her basic obligations as a member of the Australian community.”
During court proceedings an ATO representative told the court they were not seeking an immediate term of imprisonment.
Magistrate Donna Webb sentenced Ahearn to 12 months jail, released on a $1000 recognizance order for two years.
Ahearn has been ordered to lodge her outstanding returns in the next six months.
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