Kimberley communities targeted by promoters of a fraudulent tax scheme
Promoters of a fraudulent tax scheme are targeting residents in Kimberley communities with the promise of a large tax return, prompting a warning by Consumer Protection and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
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.
It’s believed the promoters ask for an upfront fee from participants and then advise them on what information to include in their online return to ensure they receive a large payment from the ATO.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe advises people who are approached in this way not to get involved.
“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.
“It’s unclear if those being targeted are participating with the knowledge that it is a fraudulent scheme, or if they are unaware of its illegal nature.
“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.
“Some eligible taxpayers can get free advice and assistance from registered Tax Help Volunteers in their community.”
People 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.
Tips to keep you safe:
- Don’t include false information in your tax return. The ATO can tell if it is false and you will have to pay the money back if you are not entitled to it;
- If someone promises you a very large tax refund, it’s probably too good to be true;
- Make sure your tax agent is registered by checking the Tax Practitioners Board website;
- Check if you are eligible for the Tax Help program where you can get free advice and assistance;
- Protect your myGov login details and password. You should not share these details with anyone, not even your tax agent. Registered tax agents can access the information they need via ATO portals;
- If you have already received a refund through this scheme, don’t spend the money.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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