Issued: 12 May 2020
Last modified: 12 May 2020
We're warning unregistered organisations against becoming engaged in providing advice or services related to any of the COVID-19 stimulus benefits, such as Jobkeeper, Cash Boost or Early Release from Super. Such arrangements are in breach of the Tax Agent Services Act and such organisations may be liable for a civil penalty imposed by the Federal Court.
Following complaints and through intelligence gathering, we've become aware of organisations providing misleading advice and support on obtaining COVID-19 stimulus benefits, sometimes on a ‘no benefit – no fee’ basis. Often such services are promoted through social media channels and are usually bundled with unnecessary services in a subscription or locked-in contract. Some involve businesses with thousands of clients.
Offending organisations often incorrectly claim that their advice is ‘assured’ by a registered tax agent. Others may seek personal or confidential information including Tax File Numbers or MyGov ID logins, exposing their clients to data theft.
We will prioritise investigations of unregistered organisations and their agents, who claim to offer help in lodging COVID-19 stimulus related claims and documents.
We're also concerned about the accuracy of this advice being provided to clients. Additionally, we want to ensure that legitimate tax practitioners are not left at a competitive disadvantage by unregistered advisers offering benefits that are not available under the law.
If you become aware of a potential scam or unregistered tax practitioner offering stimulus benefit advice, report the situation to us either by email or by calling 1300 362 829 (select option 5). All reports will be treated in the strictest confidence.