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Dodgy tax schemes- Warning from the ATO
01-05-2009 

National awareness program - dodgy tax schemes from the ATO



30 April 2009

National awareness program - dodgy tax schemes

The Tax Office is conducting a national awareness program to help taxpayers protect themselves against promoters marketing dodgy tax schemes.

In the current financial climate, we are concerned promoters may increase the marketing of high risk tax schemes and scams, taking advantage of the recent financial vulnerability of many taxpayers.

The program is predominantly on-line and in partnership with leaders in the community including yourself as a tax professional and other tax and business intermediaries.

Supporting your clients

To support us in getting key messages to your clients, you may like to use the information 'Investigate before you invest' on your websites or in any communications with your clients.

The information includes:

§   our new fact sheet for investors Tax planning - investigate before investing can be ordered at:

ato.gov.au/onlineordering, or
- by phoning 1300 720 092 and quoting 'NAT 72936', and

§  a complementary on-line fact sheet, titled Recognising and reporting tax avoidance schemes, which outlines what you should do if a client asks about, or is involved in, a potential tax avoidance scheme.

These fact sheets are available on our website at www.ato.gov.au, and select Compliance issues, Tax planning & schemes.

The following information has been prepared to place on your websites or communications with your clients.

Investigate before you invest

Promoters of dodgy tax schemes may increase their targeting of investors in the current tough financial climate, exploiting their financial vulnerability.

If you invest in a dodgy tax scheme, you will be risking your original investment and you may have to pay back any missing tax with interest and penalties long after the promoter and your money are gone.

Before you invest in any tax scheme:

§  investigate carefully

§  seek independent advice from:

- a professional advisor, and/or
-
the Tax Office

§  check information and warnings about investment schemes and scams on the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission SCAMwatch website.

Further information

More detailed information and advice is available on the Tax Office's new fact sheet Tax planning - investigate before investing.

Brett Martin
Assistant Commissioner
Aggressive Tax Planning