How to Avoid Small Business Tax Scams


Electronic tax lodgement offers a more accessible way for small businesses and individuals to meet their obligations. Unfortunately, online criminals take advantage of this convenience, with the Australian Taxation Office reporting more than 25,000 cases of impersonation in the 2021–2022 financial year alone.

Losing money to unlawful situations can have devastating effects on small businesses trying to establish themselves in their chosen industry. We’ve constructed this useful guide outlining prevalent tax scams you should know about and several tips on mitigating them.


What Are Tax Scams?

Scammers falsify their identity, posing as the ATO and misleading small businesses into paying what they believe is their business tax bill or an “excess”. Besides financial damage, responding to scams also puts businesses’ confidential information, such as direct bank details. 

Scammers are most likely to reach you through the following mediums: 

  • Phishing: Fake SMS, WhatsApp, and email messages requesting finances or information. The sender may pose as myGov or software providers.
  • Cold calls: ATO impersonators may suggest that you’ve underpaid tax and must follow a process to complete your tax bill. Alternatively, they may say you’re due a refund to steal your financial information. 


How to Avoid Tax Scams

Protect yourself by reviewing the preventative measures against tax scams below:


Understand How the ATO Communicates

The ATO enables you to assign communication preferences of:

  • Direct electronic mail via your myGov portal
  • Paper mail sent via post

Although you may receive texts or emails alerting you of unread notifications in your myGov portal, the ATO will never demand action, like paying money or submitting files using these methods. It won’t call you either.

One way to check the legitimacy of email senders is by clicking on the address. Scammers usually have odd-looking email addresses containing sporadic numbers and letters. Seeing household address providers like “” also indicates a scam.

Log into your myGov account properly and review your communication history to see all correspondence sent to you.


Avoid Application Fees

Scammers create websites offering tax file numbers (TFN) and Australian business numbers (ABN) for a fee. Avoid these websites completely and process all applications via the ATO’s website. TFN and ABN applications are free to complete, so avoid any source requesting payment.


Don’t Click on the Links Provided

Scam messages might provide a false link, posing as a shortcut to the myGov login. These links could contain malware, viruses, or trojans that could corrupt your device. 

They could also seize control over your device, downloading recording software, meaning scammers can see your activity, such as logging into bank accounts. Always use the correct process to access your financial accounts and remove messages containing suspicious links.


Get Advice From Reliable Sources

False social media accounts appearing as the ATO or other reputable tax sites could provide advice via private messages. While this advice could be highly inaccurate, meaning you submit your tax documents incorrectly, they could also demand payment or confidential login information. 

The ATO doesn’t communicate via social media, so omit any messages on these platforms. Only liaise with certified agents who can prove their credentials.


Receive Legitimate Support From Glance Consultants

Working with certified accountants at Glance Consultants gives you peace of mind, knowing your finances and information are safe. You’ll receive quality support and advice on taxes, accounting, bookkeeping, auditing, strategy planning, and more that you can trust. Contact us today to see how we can help you.


Disclaimer: Glance Consultants cannot provide legal advice. Please contact the authorities, banking institute, or a legally recognised body for support if you’ve fallen victim to a scam.

SUBSCRIBE to the Business Accelerator Magazine