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Tax Scam Tips

Tips for recognising and avoiding tax scams

You should be wary of SMS and emails claiming to be from the ATO. They have developed some tips to help you avoid identity fraud.

Tip 1: How to recognise scam SMS and emails

Hoax SMS and emails can look very convincing. To protect yourself from scams and fraud, remember to look out for SMS and emails that:

  • are unsolicited, and check whether emails are from a valid ATO email address – scams may include an official-looking email address to give you a false sense of security
  • do not address you by your name, or address you by your email address
  • ask for your personal or financial information, such as your date of birth, address, credit card details and PIN – we will never ask you to provide this information via SMS or email
  • are poorly worded and contain spelling and grammatical mistakes – fake emails often contain misspellings, poor grammar, missing words, and gaps in logic; these types of mistakes help scammers avoid scam filters
  • promise you money
  • contain an attachment for you to lodge a form – opening one could cause you to download spyware or a virus
  • contain fake links for you to lodge a form – in emails, check where the link is going by moving your mouse over the link in the email and look at the URL in the bottom bar of the browser; if it looks suspicious, don't click it.

Tip 2: Report SMS and emails that offer tax refunds in exchange for entering personal information  

We can only calculate tax refunds after you have reported information to us about your financial activity for the year. Based on that information, we automatically pay any refund due into your nominated bank account or send you a cheque.


Any SMS or email that requests additional information before a refund can be released is a hoax.


Get it done

If you receive an SMS or email asking for personal information, report it to us.

Tip 3: Report SMS and emails claiming that you owe us money, or that your account is in arrears and we will take you to court

We will never email you with this information. Once we have processed your information, we will send you a notice or account by mail to advise you of your total tax liability and whether you owe money – this statement will also tell you when you need to make any payments.

If you are having difficulty paying your tax debt, it is important you contact us. If you fail to address your debt, we will contact you via:

  • phone – generally during normal business hours.
  • mail – this will be sent to the postal address we have on our records
  • an external collection agency  
  • a personal visit.

The Ato will never contact you about owing them money without sending you a notice or account summary. They will not start any legal action until they have tried various other methods to collect the money, including setting up a payment plan.


Any SMS or email you receive that demands payment or advises that we're taking legal action for the amount owed, without us contacting you first, is a hoax.


Find out more

Managing your tax debt


Get it done

If you receive an SMS or email claiming you owe money on your tax accounts, report it to us.

Tip 4: Always use our online services by visiting or  

Following this practice ensures you are logging into a genuine ATO online service.

You will always be prompted to sign in with your:

  • myGov user name and password, for individual online services
  • AUSkey for the Business, BAS, and Tax Agent portals.

If you aren’t asked to do this, the website is a fake.

As an extra precaution, we recommend you type internet addresses directly into your internet browser, rather than clicking on links embedded in emails. You can also check the URL of the page you are visiting to ensure the site is genuine.


Be cautious when clicking on hyperlinks embedded in SMS and emails.

Tip 5: Make sure you keep your tax file number (TFN) and passwords secure  

Don't share your password with others and never reply to emails with your password or other sensitive information, including your TFN.

We recommend you change your passwords on a regular basis – try using one that consists of a combination of numbers, letters (both upper case and lower case), punctuation and special characters.

Find out more

Identify theft and your tax file number.



Shand Business Solutions are registered BAS AGENTS.

We do not provide Accounting, Financial or TAX advice.

We do provide when requested, Accountant Ready Books for your own Accountant or Tax Agent.

If you don't have an accountant or a Tax Agent then we can arrange one for you.