Protecting Yourself and Others from Identity Crime

During tax time there is an increase in scams that do the rounds and take advantage of taxpayers by pretending to be the ATO staff member trying to con money out of Australians.

An example of scammers pretending to be a fake tax agent can be seen on our blog  – Fake Tax Agent Phone Scam

You can protect yourself and others by following these five simple steps:

Know what personal info to protect

Your personal information – this includes your full name, date of birth, current address, bank account details, credit card details, tax file number, drivers’ licence, passport and any passwords. If this kind of information fell into the hands of a scammer they can use it to impersonate you.

Keep your personal info safe

Don’t carry your personal information around in a wallet, handbag or save it on a phone!
Keep this information in a safe and secure place, also keep your virus protection current.

Personal information that is stolen can be extremely hard to get back – keep your info secure!

Personal information is easy for Scammers to take and hard for you to get back – keep your info safe!

Be careful what you share on social media

Posting on social media sites is the norm these days, everyone loves a selfie.

But posting and sharing your personal information online puts yourself at risk of being targeted by a scammer. Make sure your profile is set to private and be overly cautious with which friend requests to accept.

Be suspicious of requests for personal information

Scammers are believable and may quote personal information to sound trustworthy. If you notice that you and someone you know have received a request for personal information, tell them to treat the request carefully as there is a high possibility that it may be a scam.
If you or someone you know is unsure, it’s okay to hang up the phone and call us on 07 3881 3029 or call the ATO’s scam line on 1800 008 540 to confirm.

Know legitimate ways to make payments

Scammers tend to trick their victims into paying false debts with threatening tactics, and they tend to ask for this money to be paid by using pre-paid gift cards by sending money to random bank accounts. You can check the legitimacy of a payment method at ato.gov.au/howtopay.

If you’re ever suspicious of a phone call, text, email or letter contact us immediately on 07 3881 3029 or you can call the ATO’s dedicated scams line on 1800 008 540

 

 

Fake Tax Agent Phone Scam … AGAIN!

The ATO have recently reported that scammers are now using ATO phone numbers to contact their victims and demand payment for fake tax debts or face being arrested.

Our previous blog spoke about the 3-way conversation initiated by the victim and 2 scammers pretending to be the victims tax agent.

Now the scammers are using simple apps, that can be easily downloaded to their phone, to call people and make it look like the calls are coming from the ATO switchboard with the ATO’s legitimate phone numbers.

The ATO stats recently released show that during July and August around 1600 victims handed their personal details over to tax scammers which has resulted in $190,000 being stolen from the victims.

Don’t fall victim to these scams!

If you receive a call from someone demanding a payment by unusual means e.g. iTunes vouchers, store gift cards or BitCoin Cryptocurrency HANG UP IMMEDIATELY and contact us directly on 07 3881 3029 or call the ATO Scam Line on 1800 008 540.

 

September Scam Alert

Fake Tax Agent Phone Scam

It has recently been reported by the ATO that a new impersonation scam is about.

The scammer initiates a three-way conversation between themselves, the victim and another scammer pretending to be the victim’s tax agent.

Example
The scammer leaves a voicemail for the victim advising that if they do not contact the ATO due to an outstanding debt that they will face up to five years jail time.

The victim calls the number back and is advised they need to pay $9,000 straight away, as the federal police were involved in their case and they would face jail time.

The victim provided the scammer with their tax agents phone number and the scammer dialed in the other scammer via a three-way conference call.

The person claimed that the victim’s tax agent was unavailable but that they were from the same practice and could assist.

The ‘tax agent’ advised that there was an error with the victim’s tax return and he was required to pay the $9,000 at a specific location on the same day – the victim withdrew the cash and deposited it into a Bitcoin machine.


If you receive a call like the example above, hang up immediately and call us on (07) 3881 3029 to confirm whether it was one of our tax agents.

You can also phone the ATO on 1800 008 540 to check whether the call was legitimate and to report a scam.

 

Why Your Tax Return May Be Delayed – #5

Outstanding Debts

If you have an outstanding debt with the ATO or another government agency (e.g. Centrelink or Child Support) your tax return may be delayed while the relevant agency assesses the information provided in your tax return.

If the debt is legitimate and is required to be paid, the agency recovering the debt will deduct the outstanding amount from your refund.

If you require a payment plan to pay off your debt you can contact the ATO on 13 28 65 – make sure you have your TFN handy prior to calling.

 

Why Your Tax Return May Be Delayed – #4

Compromised Tax File Number

Your Tax File Number (TFN) is used to identify you in your dealings with the ATO; it can also be used to lodge tax returns and other tax forms. If an unauthorised third party has, or potentially has the ability to access your TFN and personal information they may be committing Identity Fraud.

If you know or suspect someone has stolen your TFN or is using your tax-related information illegally, you can phone the ATO on 1800 467 033, Monday to Friday between 8.00am and 6.00pm.

 

Why Your Tax Return May Be Delayed – #3

Dodgy Deductions

In this wonderful world of high technology, the ATO is now able to use sophisticated analytics to highly scrutinize taxpayers and what they claim.

They do this by comparing taxpayers with similar occupations earning similar incomes. If a red flag is raised, they will investigate.

If you aren’t sure what you can claim, give us a call on 07 3881 3029 or ask your tax agent on the day of your appointment.

 

Why You Tax Return May Be Delayed – #2

Cross-Checking with Third Parties

The ATO cross-checks with third parties (e.g. Centrelink and Child Support) to ensure the information provided on your tax return or to the third parties is true and correct. If the ATO notice any discrepancies with your return they may contact you to confirm the discrepancy, this may result in a delay while processing your tax return.

Get it right the first time

It’s best to ensure that the information you provide to your tax agent at your appointment is true and correct prior to lodgment. Getting it right the first time will avoid delays, penalties, interest, and repayments.

 

Why Your Tax Return May Be Delayed – #1

Client Records

One of the most common reasons for delayed tax returns is client records not matching the ATO’s records. This may be a change of address, marital status or other personal information.

If you forget to advise your tax agent and they lodge your return with the incorrect information, it may result in the return either being rejected or held up with the ATO until the information is confirmed with the client.

How can this be prevented?

Make sure you tell your tax agent at your appointment of any changes to your details. However, if you have changed your name since your last tax return you will need to call the ATO directly on 13 28 61.

 

Old Tax Returns

Even though it’s time to do your tax return for 2018, don’t forget that it’s never too late to catch up on old tax returns that you haven’t done or have forgotten about.

So don’t panic, call our office now on 07 38813029 and mention that you have to catch up on old tax returns when making your 2018 tax appointment so we can allow the necessary time.

 

 

Airbnb Income

Airbnb is a popular way of making some extra money. However, there are tax issues that arise.

The ATO are targeting Airbnb hosts who are not declaring their income and not paying their fair share of tax.

Airbnb income needs to be declared in your tax return. However, you can also claim a portion of your property costs to offset your tax. Examples of costs you can claim are rates, water, insurance, repairs, mortgage interest, phone and internet.

You may also be liable to pay capital gains tax when you sell your property.
So if you are an Airbnb host and don’t want the ATO chasing you for unpaid tax, make an appointment with one of our Airbnb tax specialists now. We can help you out and tell you what you need to do to keep it simple and easy.