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Supporting clients that may be victims of tax fraud

What you can do if you have clients who have been the victims of tax fraud.

Last updated 11 August 2022

How to help your clients

We do everything in our power to detect and prevent fraud on the tax system. We take firm action against perpetrators. In rare cases, tax agents commit fraud and may involve their clients.

If you suspect your client is a victim of fraud you should advise them to:

  • report the circumstances to the police
  • phone the ATO Client Identity Support Centre on 1800 467 033.

If you suspect the wrongdoing involves a tax practitioner, you can also lodge a complaint with the Tax Practitioners BoardExternal Link.

We may request your client to provide information such as:

  • their former tax agent’s contact details
  • documentation provided to the former tax agent
  • evidence of payments made.

If you suspect someone may be engaging in fraudulent behaviour you can report them to us by either:

Assistance we 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.

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

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

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 audits or investigations

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

When we are unable to help

We are generally unable to intervene in civil matters where:

  • we determine a lodgment or assessment is valid and reflects your client's correct tax position
  • 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.

Your client can consider seeking independent advice through the court or by contacting consumer affairs bodies in these circumstances.