With it being tax time, be wary of fraudsters
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has estimated more than $800 million of fraudulent refund claims have been made, with fraudsters relying on the self-assessment process in the BAS lodgement system to claim and be paid for false GST refunds, all before the fraudulent return is picked up by the ATO.
The attempted fraud involves an individual, often with stolen ID:
- inventing a fake business
- lodging a fraudulent Australian business number (ABN) application, and
- submitting fictitious business activity statements (BAS) to attempt to gain a false GST refund
As part of this increased scrutiny and investigation, the ATO has introduced protocols to closely review all GST refund claims, both legitimate and false, and are putting extra controls in place, such as reviewing bank accounts and requesting further information on specific BAS statement items, to ensure the legitimacy of the claims being made.
For businesses that may rely on the GST refund claim coming in to purchase goods, pay other bills or otherwise be reliant on the cash flow for business purposes, this fraud activity is understandably causing some concern.
If you are concerned about a potential impact on your cashflow or see anything suspicious that may indicate GST refund fraud, please reach out to the MGI team.