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  • If you are a victim of tax fraud

    Fraud occurs when a person uses dishonest or deceitful means to gain a financial advantage. This can come at the expense of unsuspecting victims ranging from intentional concealment omission to perversion of the truth. In rare cases, tax agents commit fraud and may involve their clients.

    What you can do

    If you suspect wrongdoing or believe you may be a victim of fraud, you should take the following steps:

    • report the circumstances to the police
    • lodge a complaint with the Tax Practitioners Board at Link
    • contact the ATO Client Identity Support Centre on 1800 467 033

    We may request you to provide information such as the tax agent’s contact details, documentation provided to the tax agent, and evidence of payments made.

    If you suspect someone may be involved in fraudulent activity but you are not the victim of the fraud you can report the activity by either:

    • calling the Tax Integrity Centre hotline on 1800 060 062
    • completing the online tip-off form. The form is also available in the contact us section of the ATO app.

    What assistance the ATO can provide

    We are serious about fraud and support taxpayers who fall victim to fraud. We can help if fraudulent action has occurred on your behalf. This could be activity on your account without your knowledge or authority by a third party such as tax agent.

    During the process of correcting your tax accounts, we may be able to help you in the following ways.

    Cancelling invalid lodgments

    If we suspect that a tax return or activity statement lodgment was without your knowledge, we can cancel the invalid lodgments. You will then need to lodge valid returns or activity statements.

    Extension of time to lodge a replacement return

    We may grant you a time extension if you are lodging a replacement return or activity. This may be:

    • 30 days from the date we notify you that we require a replacement tax return or activity statement
    • extended based on your circumstances.

    Remission of general interest charge

    If it is fair and reasonable, we can remit (reduce or cancel) interest charged on unpaid tax debts or shortfall amounts that occur as a consequence of fraud.

    Arrangements to pay by instalments

    If an outstanding debt causes financial difficulties, we may allow you to pay instalments over an agreed period of time.

    Providing assistance during the course of audits or investigations

    We will support you or your trusted tax agent during the audit process to correct your tax accounts after fraud has occurred.

    When the ATO is unable to assist

    We are generally unable to intervene in civil matters where:

    • we determine a lodgment or assessment is valid
    • any refund amount has issued to the destination instructed by you or your authorised representative (such as your tax agent).

    We are unable to help where there is insufficient evidence of fraud, or to trace misdirected or misappropriated funds. The parties involved are to resolve these matters.

    You can consider seeking independent advice through the court, or contacting consumer affairs bodies in these circumstances.

    See also:

    Last modified: 07 Feb 2020QC 61367