As tax season has just started in Australia for 2016 financial year  and it is important that everyone remains vigilant of any potential tax related scams. Tax Related scams are most commonly conducted via email, mobile phone or telephone. The scammers may advise that you are eligible for an unexpected refund/grant or inform you that you are required to lodge your returns or pay a tax debt. They might also ask you to provide personal information, credit card information or money.

The individuals conducting these scams will often portray themselves as genuine Australian Tax Office (ATO) representatives and may provide information that may seem relevant to your situation.

It is important that you remain vigilant of all communication that you receive in regards to your taxation matters. While communication may seem authentic, there are often indicators that it is not genuine communication from the ATO. For example:

  • The ATO will never request personal information or credit card details via unsecure communication channels
  • Communication may originate from non genuine ATO sources which may include:
    – emails from non gov.au addresses,
    – return phone numbers that are locally based rather than National 1300 number
    – websites that are similar to the ATO however not genuine
  • The caller may have certain personal information but unable to provide specific information regarding the issue
  • Callers are often pushy/aggressive in nature and may threaten with immediate legal actions like cancellation of your passport, court appearances and possible arrest
  • You are required to pay to have the tax refund released

If you are unsure of the legitimacy of communication you have received or you have been victim to a tax related scam you can contact the ATO 1800 008 540