Tax practitioners have been urged to educate clients on potential scams this tax time and make use of a communication function on the ATO’s portals, following a high alert over a fake myGov form circulating over emails.
High alert issued over myGov scam
This week, Stay Safe Online issued a high alert involving a fake myGov email promising taxpayers a tax refund, but instead is designed to steal personal and financial information.
“The email, which has the subject line ‘Important information regarding your account’, includes the myGov logo and claims to be from the myGov team,” the warning said.
“The form asks for your name and contact details, your myGov password and your credit card number. After you supply this information and click the ‘Continue’ button, you’ll be automatically redirected to the myGov website. By then it’s too late and the scammer has your details.”
The ATO has responded by reminding the tax profession of the need to be vigilant as the regulators usually see a spike in scam activity at tax time.
According to Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson, over 37,000 scam attempts were reported to the ATO during tax time 2017.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission earlier said that almost $2.4 million worth of scams were reported to the tax office in 2017.
With tax scams an ongoing problem for both taxpayers and the regulators, the ATO has regularly sent out alerts over current scams, including scams that have potential to fool well-regarded professionals.
“The most common scam is still the “fake tax debt” phone scam, but we’re seeing an increase in “fake refund” or “refund for a fee” scams and in email and SMS scams enticing people to click a hyperlink, download a file or open an attachment,” said Ms Anderson.
Assistant Commissioner Tim Roach also highlighted the need for tax and BAS agents to utilise the client communication list (CCL) function in the tax and BAS agents portals to view official communications issued to clients.
Accountants Daily understands the CCL function allows agents to view most letters, emails and SMS messages as soon as the communication has been sent, including access to up to five years of communication.
Some of the communication tax agents can access include notices, such as notices of assessment, statements of account, payment arrangement letters, payment or lodgement reminders, letters about PAYG installments, letters about super contributions from employers, referral warning letters, and tax receipts.
Clients who have a myGov account that is linked to the ATO will receive communication in their myGov inbox and will be able to be viewed by their agent in the CCL.
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