Now Online Only
Meanwhile, 2019 has brought a record number of ATO scam calls. Scammers are getting more tools at their disposal, thanks to the persistent efforts to push the population to fill tax returns and use other government services online. Luckily, one of the much-sought “holistic” approaches to protecting one's data, money and peace is available to everyone, has been around for decades, and is as follows:
- Don't use myGov, myTax or other online services. Nobody can guarantee your data safety on your computer, on government servers, or anywhere in between.
- Don't use accountants. They can't guarantee to keep your data secure either.
- Don't fill the phone or email fields in your tax return. Online forms demand this data, but on paper the person can leave these fields blank. If after that someone calls, sends sms or email, you will immediately be warned that it is likely to be scammers, simply because ATO shouldn't have these contact details.
- Do your tax return yourself, on paper, and send it to ATO via registered post. If any info still leaks, it will at least be on Australian soil and almost certainly AusPost or ATO fault. Time to audit them instead.
According to the reader feedback, since myTax roll out, there has also been a significant increase in errors ATO make while processing tax returns; and after the taxpayer requests ATO to correct the errors, the amendment letters are worded as if the taxpayer made the mistakes, not the ATO. It is so far unclear, whether that is because ATO mistakenly concluded that it no longer needs to employ sufficient numbers of careful and attentive people, instead relying on software to replace them, or because ATO is indeed plagued by the problems 4Corners reported in its Mongrel Bunch of Bastards episode (video); text version Malicious and Vengeful (part 1), High Cost of Taking on the Tax Office (part 2), Cash Grab (part 3).