Highrise of lies: Gold Coast developer cops fines over GST fraud

A Gold Coast property developer has been criminally convicted after he fraudulently claimed a $147,763 GST refund for a building that did not exist.

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Gold Coast property developer, Mr Kevin Barnard has narrowly avoided a prison sentence following GST fraud. 

In his capacity as director of Share Water Developments Pty Ltd, Mr Barnard claimed to be constructing a high-rise apartment building at Broadbeach. The property developer lodged eight business activity statements (BAS) with false expenses in relation to the development of this property, to gain a GST benefit. 

Mr Barnard was sentenced at the Southport District Court to three years imprisonment, but with immediate release on a three-year good-behaviour bond worth $5,000. 

At the ruling, Judge Rowan Jackson said he wasn’t satisfied Mr Barnard’s medical condition — one of a cardiac nature — could be managed in prison. 


“The only reason you are not serving time in prison is because of your health,” Judge Jackson said.

An audit of Share Water Developments’ tax affairs conducted by the ATO found that Mr Barnard never owned the land on which the Broadbeach tower was supposedly built, hadn’t obtained finance for the project, and hadn’t submitted any development applications for the site. 

The ATO discovered that the expenses claimed by Mr Barnard were never incurred and they were able to prevent him from making later attempts at the same play worth $76,253.

ATO assistant commissioner Ian Read welcomed Mr Barnard’s sentence, noting that deception acts such as these in effect steal from the pockets of taxpayers. 

“We have no tolerance for blatant fraud like we have seen in this case,” Mr Read said. 

“In this instance, the defendant won’t serve his sentence due to a medical condition, However, this is an exception. Those who are deliberately trying to cheat the tax system can expect to get caught and face large fines and even jail time.

“Tax fraud is not a victimless crime — those who engage in this criminal behaviour are obtaining an unfair advantage over those who do the right thing.”

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