VATupdate

ATO: Help your clients to rectify GST fraud

We are warning the community to be on the lookout for dodgy online ads, often on social media platforms, that attempt to draw in people with the promise of easy GST refunds. While these ads may appear legitimate, they’re absolutely not – in fact, it’s fraud.

We’ve recently issued a media release about large-scale GST fraud attempts exceeding $850 million, that involve customers setting up an ABN without operating a business, and then submitting fictitious BAS statements to get a GST refund.

Integrated Compliance Deputy Commissioner Will Day said, “These people are making deliberate attempts to get money that they aren’t entitled to. These are not simple mistakes or slip-ups – it’s fraud. So far we’ve successfully stopped $770 million in attempted fraud before payment.”

“The people who are involved in these activities aren’t accidentally ticking a box on an online form. They’re signing to say that they’ve set up an ABN for a business that doesn’t exist, then lodging a BAS with false information on it, to receive GST refunds that they are not entitled to,” Mr Day said.

We’re asking tax agents to be on the lookout for unusual transactions or requests for unusual advice from clients. You may also be contacted by clients who want you to help them out of a sticky situation, or some who may think that they’ve had their identity compromised.

If you have a client who thinks they’ve been involved in this arrangement, they can come forward and let us know before we contact them. We’ve set up a dedicated number they can call 1300 130 017.

We’ve already commenced recouping money that has been received fraudulently, through garnishees, payment plans and freezing orders. We take all reports of tax crime seriously. You can confidentially report suspected tax evasion or crime to us online or by calling 1800 060 062.

Source: ATO

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