The tax office has received around 360 reports of scams impersonating it every month in 2022-2023, on average.

That’s expected to ramp up in the weeks before and after 30 June.

“The number of phone calls impersonating the ATO in June last year was double the monthly average,” NAB scam awareness lead Tessa Bowles said.

Losses from such scams made up part of the record $3.1 billion Australians lost to scammers last year – an 80% year-on-year jump.

“Current cost of living pressures mean tax returns will be front of mind for many Australians hoping for a refund," Ms Bowles said.

“No one ever wants to lose their hard-earned money to criminals.”

What to look out for

Scams impersonating the ATO often see criminals claiming you need to pay a processing fee or provide more details to receive your tax return.

They might also claim a person owes a tax debt and must pay or risk being arrested.

Most scammers claiming to be the ATO will make contact via text or email, but phone calls from the criminals are also common.

“Never feel pressured into making a payment and contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve been scammed,” Ms Bowles said.

Tips to avoid scammers this tax season

NAB recommends Aussies stay vigilant on their tax affairs and hang up on calls claiming you need to pay money to receive your tax return.

“If you have a tax debt, you’ll know about it before it’s due,” the bank also noted.

If you’re not sure whether you have a legitimate debt or can expect a refund, access your myGov account independently.

It could also be worth remembering:

  • The ATO won’t threaten a person’s immediate arrest or speak in an abusive manner
  • It won’t ask for personal information like a person’s tax file number or credit card details
  • The ATO won’t ask anyone to pay a tax debt into a non-ATO bank account

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