Fake Tax Agents Steal Their Clients’ Refunds. Be wary!

Fake Tax Agents Steal Their Clients’ Refunds. Be wary!

 

Is the person doing your tax fake? 

Recent research conducted suggests a very high level of trust in the tax profession. But is the person or company doing your tax a real agent or a fake?

There seems to be a lot of tax scams out there:  phishing, SMS & phone frauds, identity theft… But one thing we, as tax agents, continually warn the public about is the fake agent.

As registered tax agents, we are trusted advisors to our clients. Aussie taxpayers come to us for guidance and peace of mind. No matter how little they hope to pay in taxes, they should rest assured that we are reducing their tax liability (and getting them the best refund) in accordance with the law.

Unfortunately, it’s not always the case

In a case 2 months ago (Dec 2019) in Mt Druitt NSW, Mr Benjamin Cox pretended to be a tax agent to more than 1,000 people, charging $100 for his services and using their myGov login details to submit income tax returns with highly inflated and illegal claims on their behalf. He then stole their refunds by having them directed to his personal account.

Cox received a two and a half year prison sentence and had to pay back over $50,000 in stolen refunds.

Ian Klug, (Chair of the Tax Practitioners Board) states ‘make sure you are using a registered tax practitioner. They are required to meet industry standards and are covered by professional indemnity insurance, providing greater peace of mind to their clients’.

While we strive to serve our clients by helping them pay the lowest tax liability, and while we may want to “stick it to the ATO” sometimes, we also must follow Australian Tax Law. In the long run, not doing your due diligence will often lead to steep ATO penalties.

Here’s how to check:

Warning signed that your tax agent is fake.

  • They are not on the Tax Agent Register
  • They offer to do your return on myGov (like Mr Cox above)
  • They promise an obviously inflated tax refund.
  • They don’t sign or eSign your return.
  • You’re asked to sign a return that is incomplete.
  • They don’t provide full details of their fees or your expected refund.

Stephen Burns, CEO Accountants Direct

For more details or to get help with your tax contact us today.