With less than a month remaining for those who prepare their own tax returns to lodge, the Tax Office warns individuals to protect their personal and financial details following a sharp spike in tax-related email scams.
From June last year to the same period this year, phishing scams have quadrupled from 3,586 to 15,441.
The ATO will never send taxpayers an email asking them to confirm, update or disclose confidential information including your name, date of birth, home address, passwords or credit card details.
Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan said scammers are becoming more sophisticated in the way they trick individuals into handing over their personal details.
"We advise people to be vigilant of emails that mimic the ATO's online publications. Think very carefully before clicking on links and attachments in emails or on social networking sites," Jordan said.
The Tax Office had the following tips for individuals on how to protect themselves and their identity:
- protect all personal details, including tax file number. Only certain people and organisations can request for your tax file number. Do not provide your tax file number online unless you are certain about the authenticity of the person requesting it
- report emails purporting to be from the Tax Office by forwarding the email to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au
- contact the Tax Office immediately if you think you may have been the victim of a scam, or that your identity has been stolen, by phoning 1800 060 062 from Monto Fri 8.00am and 6.00pm (AEDT).
Always be vigilant
If you are unsure of the validity of any email, GJB recommends that you delete it immediately, do not click on links nor open attachments and, if you must follow up, phone the sender if known to you or contact GJB for further advice. As recently as this week, GJB received false email communications in respect of processing tax returns.
31 October tax lodgement deadline
The Tax Office reminded individuals who prepare their own tax return that they only have until 31 October to meet their lodgement deadline. There are a few changes this tax time that individuals have to be aware of – for the first time, they need to provide a bank account for electronic payment of refunds.
Still lagging or even procrastinating getting your tax done by 31 October? There is a light at the end of the tunnel. If the month-end deadline is looking tight, you still have time to become a client of GJB and get an extension. For more information on completing tax returns with GJB's help, click here.