I literally just finished a call with a very distressed client who had received a phone call purportedly from the "ATO".
The caller had stated that my client was in a major default of her tax obligations due to large understated income amounts, and had to rectify the situation immediately.
She was instructed to not get off the phone, but to immediately arrange to make payment of several thousand dollars to the account that the caller was to provide. The caller stated that the local police were on the way, and in 45 minutes would arrive to arrest her for tax fraud should she not comply. She was accused of being a serious criminal and defrauding the government, a federal crime. The caller had her name, address, business name and home phone number.
Luckily, she didn't have the funds available, managed to end the call and speak to me, still in tears from the episode. It took me quite a while to convince her she wasn't in trouble.
As a tax agent I am aware that this is not how the ATO operate. (especially with an election pending 🙂 ) But for some poor innocent victim, this is a majorly stressful event and compliance with the caller may seem the only choice. These parasites run a numbers game, knowing that if they are abusive and confronting enough, often enough, eventually someone will pay them the money.
Please ensure you spread the word, and hopefully we can prevent this from happening to someone we know.
And if you do have difficulties with the ATO, ensure you speak to your accountant!