The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has revealed that perpetrators are increasingly using SMSF professionals to register fraudulent funds.  The ATO says that it is worrying that the criminals are using fraudulent funds to access and steal their victims’ superannuation.

“The perpetrators believe using the services of registered tax agents and other super professionals to register these fake funds will help them avoid detection,” says the ATO in a recent online publication.

The ATO outlined that SMSF professionals can protect themselves from unwittingly registering fraudulent funds and companies by verifying client identities when registering ABNs or TFNs and being cautious when accepting new business with new entities.

The ATO advises that professionals need to be especially cautious when accepting new business where transactions were online or they received calls to register and prepare forms for a bulk list of new clients.

Tax agents should ensure that any advisers they deal with are on ASIC’s list of professional registers and report any misconduct to ASIC.

This follows the recent release of guidelines by the ATO and Tax Practitioners Board aimed at combating identity theft.

The guidelines outline steps that tax practitioners should take to verify the identity of clients. They also need to establish and make it clear that the ATO expects tax practitioners to perform identity checks on all new clients, including representatives of new clients and new representatives of existing clients.

If you find yourself in a situation where you think that you might have been a victim of SMSF fraud or suspects a new or potential client may be trying to register a fraudulent fund than it is important for you to contact the ATO and letting them know of your concerns by calling them on 1800 062 062 or by using the ATO’s online tip-off form.

ATO Encourages Accountants to Take Cyber Security More Seriously

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has spoken out about the increased frequency of scams taking place across Australia. The ATO emphasising that accountants should be doing more to strengthen their digital systems as the risks for taxpayers rise

Scams, identity theft and fraud are becoming an increased threat and the ATO said practitioners should review their cyber-security arrangements this year. 

ATO assistant commissioner Darryl Richardson said accountants are already involved in system and process changes with new client verification guidelines developed by the ATO and TPB.

Mr. Richardson also believes that it is important for accountants to continually review the processes in place, both across the firm and for clients.

“It is worthwhile having to think about the controls that are in place, in your practice, and when you are interacting with clients. What does it actually look like, how does it feel,” says ATO assistant commissioner Darryl Richardson.

Unfortunately, we do see circumstances such as where the client is dismissive of the client verification process, or whether they are not forthcoming with information that is asked of them, or even things like applying pressure or documents that appear to be fake, or otherwise unusual. I think agents understand, and they apply at least the minimum guidance, or the minimum action, but it is worthwhile reflecting on the sorts of things that we do see,” continued Mr. Richardson.

The team at C&D Restructure and Taxation Advisory are here to help. As part of the Vault Group we can offer the full suite of financial products and advice to help you navigate the business landscape. Schedule a meeting here via Calendly or give us a call on 1300 1 VAULT (1300 182 858)

The following two tabs change content below.
Craig is the principal consultant of C&D Restructure and Taxation Advisory and has been working in the industry since 1999. Having established C&D Commercial Partners in 2015 the precursor to the current business.

Post Author: Craig Dangar

Craig is the principal consultant of C&D Restructure and Taxation Advisory and has been working in the industry since 1999. Having established C&D Commercial Partners in 2015 the precursor to the current business.

Leave a Reply