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  • Supporting clients that may be victims of tax fraud

    We do everything in our power to detect and prevent fraud on the tax system, and take firm action against perpetrators. In rare cases tax agents commit fraud and may involve their clients. When this occurs we help agents in the remediation of their affairs.

    How you can help your client

    If you suspect your client is a victim of fraud you should advise them to 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 your client to provide information such as their former tax agent’s contact details, documentation provided to the former tax agent, and evidence of payments made.

    If you suspect someone may be engaging in fraudulent behaviour you can report them to the ATO 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 their behalf by a third party. This could be activity on the client account without their knowledge or authority by a third party such as tax agent.

    During the process of correcting a client’s tax accounts, we may help you in the following ways.

    Note: In cases where you have multiple clients impacted, you should refer your enquiry through the Tax practitioner assistance service.

    Cancelling invalid lodgments

    If we suspect that a tax return or an activity statement lodgment was without your client’s authority, we can cancel the invalid lodgment.

    Extension of time to lodge a replacement return

    We may grant a time extension if your client is lodging a replacement tax return or activity. This may be:

    • 30 days from the date we notify you that we require a replacement return or activity statement
    • extended based on their 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 your client to pay instalments over an agreed period of time.

    Providing help during the course of audits or investigations

    As a trusted tax agent, we will support you during the audit process to correct your client’s tax accounts after fraud has occurred.

    When the ATO is unable to help

    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 your client or their authorised representative.

    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.

    Suggest your client considers seeking independent advice through court or contacting consumer affairs bodies in these circumstances.

    See also:

    Last modified: 30 Sep 2021QC 61366