If you’ve followed the revelations of the $165 million tax fraud, you’ll know that one of the ATO’s top enforcement officers allegedly sought to cut a deal for his son, one of the ringleaders of the fraud.
This case, of which we’ll hear lots more, highlights how self-employed people can get caught up in scams quite quickly. The ACCC is always warning us about scams and it pays to keep watch on the ACCC scam websites: here and here.
But there’s also a simple guide to stay alert about scams. If it looks too good to be true, it usually is! Take the following tax fraud.
The fraud involved the payroll-processing company Plutus Payroll not paying PAYG withholding tax to the ATO. Plutus apparently processed payrolls for some 2,000 self-employed contractors, mainly in the IT sector. In an online forum from 2014-15, contractors were querying the legitimacy of Plutus.
Look at these comments:
- Hi … anyone using them? They sound too good to be true.
- They have a meet and greet event in a couple of weeks…meet Miss World. This is looking a bit too flashy. We shall see.
- …we provide all necessary insurance …at no additional charge … unbelievable
- I’ve read all their website and it appears to be free. Do they guarantee payday?
- I am currently paying 1% of my hourly rare to my agent. I’m not sure how they can do it for free. So how do they make any money?
And on the forum discussion goes!
Plutus appeared to be providing services at no cost to contractors. This is not the industry norm. People were ringing alarm bells. Plutus looked too good to be true and it proved to be too good to be true!
It’s unknown at this stage if the ATO will try to recover unpaid tax from the 2,000-or-so IT contractors. And hindsight is cheap. But it does offer a reminder to us all. Nothing is for nothing. If alarm bells ring, be very cautious!