The TPB says businesses should take extra care when seeking outside assistance in accessing the government’s COVID-19 stimulus measures as unregistered tax operators and online scammers are attempting to capitalise on many small business owners lack of know-how.
Typically these con artists are advertising their services via social media ads suggesting they will provide services under a ‘no benefit – no fee’ scheme. Taxpayers are then inadvertently providing these scammers with access to critical personal and confidential information that could lead to identity theft.
The TPB will prioritise investigations into organisations which have been involved in such conduct.
TPB Chair, Ian Klug AM said, ‘We are investigating organisations operating in this way to establish how, and which, services are being provided and whether they are in contravention of the law.’
‘We are concerned about protecting the consumers of taxation services as we know the accuracy of the advice given by unregistered agents is not reliable and there is no safe way to ‘assure’ advice by an unregistered tax adviser simply by involving a registered agent on the fringe of the business.
“Incorrect advice may prevent the full amount of the benefit from reaching its intended recipients. Also, incorrectly received benefits may have to be repaid and recipients may be liable for penalties and interest.’’
Klug said any small business or individual unwittingly caught up in unfair contracts with businesses offering ‘assured’ tax services should seek legal advice.