According to Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe, reports from Derby, Fitzroy Crossing and surrounding areas have revealed that some taxpayers have been approached by promoters offering to help submit their tax returns with a guarantee of a substantial payment.
In some cases, the promoters have offered to pay to obtain the taxpayers’ myGov login details.
The promoters are also believed to ask for an upfront fee from participants before advising them on what information to include in their online return to ensure they receive a large payment from the ATO.
Ms Lipscombe said the ATO is now aware of the fraudulent scheme.
“The ATO advises taxpayers not to share their myGov login details with anyone, including a tax agent, and only use a tax agent who is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board to help with the preparation of tax returns,” Ms Lipscombe said.
“Some eligible taxpayers can get free advice and assistance from registered Tax Help Volunteers in their community.”
Ms Lipscombe said it was unclear if those being targeted were participating with the knowledge that it was a fraudulent scheme, or if they were unaware of its illegal nature.
“If you get a guarantee of a large tax return from someone wanting to help you with your tax, or they ask for your myGov login details, they are up to no good,” Ms Lipscombe said.
“Don’t be lured into allowing anyone to make you submit a fraudulent tax return as there are serious consequences for providing false information to the ATO. If you have received a refund through this scheme, you will have to pay the money back if you are not entitled to it, so don’t spend it.”
Taxpayers who think they have been caught up in the scheme or have information about the promoters are urged to contact the ATO on 13 28 61.
Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.