A growing trend has recently emerged on an international scale in respect of identity theft and the coercing of confidential information from unwilling parties. Recent activity has seen an increase in the number of superfluous emails and telephone calls being made directly to taxpayers from individuals acting as Australian Taxation Office officials. These emails are quite shrewd, with correspondence being issued from email addresses such as ***@ato.gov.au.
It is important to note that the Australian Taxation Office does not communicate via email. In the event that an email is received from a party acting as an Australian Taxation Office representative, this email should be deleted immediately, ensuring that no attachments are opened. Similarly, the Australian Taxation Office will in most cases not phone the taxpayer directly. Dialogue will be conducted initially with a tax agent. The key message here is that if you receive an email or call from someone other than your LBW Chartered Accountants representative in respect of your taxation affairs, that you contact us immediately to discuss the validity of the communication.