GST fraud crackdown
We’ve been raising awareness in the community about a large-scale GST fraud, known as Operation Protego. This fraud involves individuals applying for an Australian business number (ABN) to create fake businesses and then submitting false Business Activity Statements to try and claim a dishonest GST refund. It is often promoted through social media networks, with some accounts claiming to be financial advisors.
The ATO is continuing to deter the community from engaging in GST fraud. They have launched a social media advertising campaign to continue to warn people about the consequence of getting involved. The ATO-led Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) has taken action on a number of individuals suspected of being involved in Operation Protego and will continue to do so.
Important facts to remember:
- The ATO does not offer loans. If you see someone advertising a way to get a loan from the ATO, this is false.
- The ATO does not administer government disaster payments.
- If you are not in business, you do not need an ABN.
- You should never share your myGov login details.
- False declarations may impact your eligibility for other government payments.
- If you engage in GST fraud, you will be caught, and prosecution or criminal charges may apply.
If you’re carrying on a genuine business, check you’re entitled to an ABN before applying.
The ATO is urging anyone involved to come forward now and phone us on 1300 130 017 rather than face tougher consequences later. For more information visit ato.gov.au/GSTrefundfraud.
The ATO takes all reports of tax crime seriously. If third parties contact you with offers that seem too good to be true, contact the Tax Integrity Centre on 1800 060 062 or visit ato.gov.au/tipoff. Reports can be made anonymously.