Feeling forced to create a myGov account?
The year 2019 has brought the expansion of Single Touch Payroll initiative and the record number of ATO scam calls. Scammers are getting more tools at their disposal, thanks to the persistent government efforts to push the population into filling tax returns and use other services online. Luckily, one of the much-sought “holistic” approaches to protecting one's data, money and peace of mind 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. It's not something they are specialised in.
- 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 later someone calls, sends sms or email pretending to be from the ATO, Centrelink, etc, you will immediately know that it is likely to be scammers, because the legitimate organisation shouldn't have these contact details. This is the simplest way to protect yourself from becoming a victim of scam and other fraud.
- Do your tax return yourself, on paper, and send it to ATO via registered post. If any info nevertheless leaks or gets misused, it will at least be on Australian soil and almost certainly AusPost or the ATO fault.
- Request a copy of your income statement from the ATO by phone if you don't want to create a myGov account just to get that information.
If the adoption of the Single Touch Payroll by your employer means that you no longer get your payment summary (group certificate)at the end each financial year, and you were told that now you have to create a myGov account to access the information that was easily available before, remember that you don't have to create a myGov account if you don't want to. You can contact the ATO and request them to send you your income statement. It would of course mean waiting on the phone and then waiting for the post to deliver the letter. It may seem ridiculous that people are forced into creating accounts and handing over more of their personal contact details online in order to get the information that the ATO requires in their tax return form and that the very same ATO made more difficult to access, but perhaps these obstacles and requirements have been deliberately put in place to make the life of those who refuse to sign up for myGov as difficult as possible.
It is not compulsory to have a myGov account.
If you use a registered agent to lodge your tax return, they will have access to your income statement.
If you lodge your own tax return and you don't want to create a myGov account, you will need to phone us on 13 28 61 to get a copy of your income statement.
After the end of each financial year, employers have until 14 July to finalise your STP information. Your employer will let you know if there are any delays in the finalisation of your income statement.
Australian Taxation Office
According to the reader feedback, since myTax roll out, there has also been a significant increase in errors that ATO make while processing tax returns; and after the taxpayer requests the 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 the ATO mistakenly concluded that it no longer needs to employ sufficient numbers of diligent people, instead relying on software to replace them, or because the 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).
The year 2021 added another issue: COVID Check-In apps that Australians are almost forced to use in order to get access to the most essential necessities like food, and COVID vaccination records that cannot be accessed online without a myGov account linked to Medicare.