Accountant jailed over tax avoidance of nearly $400,000
A FORMER Mackay accountant has been jailed for lodging false tax returns three years in a row.
Christopher Rodney Kirkwood, 47, pleaded guilty to three counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception in the District Court in Mackay on Tuesday, and was sentenced yesterday.
Commonwealth public prosecutor Greg Lynham told the court Kirkwood had owned Mackay accountancy firm C R Kirkwood & Associates.
Judge Brian Harrison said that in 2005 Kirkwood had lodged a tax return, stating $404,815 from his business trust fund would be distributed to a client's trust fund.
The court was told the client was also a close friend.
Defence barrister Anthony Collins said that the transfer had been "win-win" as it would have benefited the client's business.
"That would have been easier to accept if (the client) knew about it," Judge Harrison said.
Judge Harrison had earlier said it seemed the step had been undertaken purely to minimise the taxation liability of Kirkwood's company.
He said similar steps had been taken when Kirkwood had lodged tax returns in 2006 and 2007.
Mr Lynham told the court Kirkwood had avoided paying a total of $377,732 tax over the three years.
Mr Collins said Kirkwood's business had expanded quickly in 2004 and the pressure on him had been "extreme".
Judge Harrison agreed that Kirwood had struggled to cope but said his interviews with police had not been "frank and open" and his guilty plea had not been early.
Mr Collins said Kirkwood was a foster parent and was qualified to be a minister in the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Judge Harrison said Kirkwood's type of offending struck "at the whole integrity of our taxation system," but said it had been unsophisticated and "doomed to failure".
Kirkwood was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.
He will be released in December, after serving nine months, and will be placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.
Judge Harrison said Kirkwood was prepared to pay full reparation of $377,732.