26 September 2023

Tax Office takes on cybercrime fraud

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The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has linked up with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) to develop new guidelines to beat cybercrime that often centred around tax fraud.

Announced by Deputy Taxation Commissioner William Day, the guidelines have been designed to help improve security and stop criminals from committing tax fraud by stealing taxpayer identities.

“We are increasingly concerned that criminals are committing tax refund fraud by stealing data and impersonating taxpayers,” Mr Day said.

“Tax Practitioners have a trusted role and these new guidelines will further help them to meet their obligations to secure the personal and financial details of their clients,” he said.

Mr Day said the TPB and ATO had consulted extensively with industry and Tax Practitioners in the development of the guidelines.

Chair of the TPB, Ian Klug said at a time when cybercrime was becoming increasingly prevalent, maintaining best practices for client verification was crucial.

“The TPB guidelines outline appropriate requirements for verification — this includes defining the documents to be sighted, maintaining records and recommendations about achieving remote verification of clients,” Mr Klug said.

“The ATO and TPB will conduct additional consultation to support tax practitioners with transitioning to the new guidelines, which are intended to become minimum standards in due course,” he said.

The Chair said many tax practices had already implemented robust proof-of-identity systems as part of their risk management and governance processes.

“I encourage other tax advisers to review and update their systems as soon as possible,” he said.

“After an appropriate time for education, consultation and transition, we will formalise these guidelines and their date of effect,” Mr Klug said.

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