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Tax Office - Major System Flaw Exploited

It appears you could add a couple of zeros to the claimed figure for tax withheld in your online return and “hey presto” you get a refund without checks.
Another system fail, I seriously think the Aus government has way too many of these across the departments.

I also note it doesn’t seem to say in the news article that the person charging a fee to show people the exploit is facing a charge, I would have thought conspiracy to defraud.


ATO. Stupid one day. Totally incompetent the next.


I wouldn’t say system fail. It was deliberate intention (fradulent) to mislead the ATO to gain a greater refund. Theft is the responsibility of the theif, not the victim.

Until such time tax collection is full automated (meaning independent electronic submission if all data for individuals and business), the only way to catch out fraudsters would be to audit every tax return every year. I personally wouldn’t want the grief of being audited every year because of a few rotten eggs.


For most information that one supplies in a return the Tax Department will have, or access to, information from entities on the other side of the equation such as PAYE, dividends, interest and so on. Where there is all of a sudden a calculated refund of these magnitudes there should be a flag and double check before it is finalised. That’s what I refer to a system fail.


And the ATO continually spruik their much vaunted “data matching” capabilities as a warning that all tax cheats will be caught.



Cynical comment warning:
It would seem that the ATO trusts people who receive a very large refund (because they must be wealthy and need to cheat?), and don’t check them as scrupulously as they do the working poor (who try to claim stuff they shouldn’t to minimise their tax by a couple of dollars).


I wouldn’t say that that is the case, there have been many high profile and high income earners which have been caught by the ATO’s net:

Paul Hogan
Michael Issakidis

and the list goes on. It possibly that we don’t hear of them through the media (or remember them as well as the battlers) as they are less likely to want additional attention.