In an effort to keep up to date with technology and improve its service delivery, the ATO has started moving their communications and interactions with taxpayers away from paper correspondence and towards other methods, such as email and mobile phones (via SMS), for updates and notifications.
Currently, the ATO uses SMS and emails for promotional and information purposes including:
- Advice that your application has been received
- Reminder to provide documents or attend a meeting
- Reminders to meet ATO obligation to avoid penalties
- Advice of new tax rates
With this move to electronic communication by the ATO, knowing what is legitimately from the ATO can be difficult.
Fortunately the ATO has provided some tips to help taxpayers avoid identity fraud including:
1. The ATO will never ask you to provide personal or financial information such as DOB, Credit Card details and address via SMS or email
2. Any SMS or email that requests additional information before a refund can be released is a hoax
3. Any SMS or email you receive that demands payment or advises that the ATO is taking legal action for the amount owed, without the ATO contacting you first is a hoax.
4. Check any links presented in the email before clicking by checking the URL. If it doesn’t direct you to an ato.gov.au domain, do not click on it.
5. Do not download any attachments contained in the email for you to lodge a form as opening one could cause you to download spyware or a virus.
6. If you are unsure of the legitimacy of a communication that claims to be from the ATO or have received fraudulent communication, phone the ATO.
If you require assistance in corresponding with the ATO, please contact Acute Business Services on 08 9367 7023.