In a broadcast message to tax agents sent on 22 July 2010, Trevor Schloss, Assistant Commissioner, SNC Refund Fraud, has advised that the ATO has recently had a number of reported instances where tax agents are being approached to unknowingly lodge fraudulent income tax returns on behalf of clients using false payment summaries. These often occur between July and September and the clients may be first time lodgers with the tax agent.
Generally the clients' returns are quite simple with deduction claims only, but in some cases spouse offsets are also involved. The claims for deductions are often excessive and higher than would be expected for that occupation.
If an agent notices suspicious behaviour from a new client, the ATO recommends that they take extra precautions to ensure their claims are legitimate. If an agent can't confirm the client's payment summary and claims are authentic, the ATO recommends that they explain to the client their responsibility as a registered tax agent and decline to prepare or lodge their tax return.