How you can avoid tax time scams



Tax time is one of the busiest times of the year for small business owners. According to the Australian Taxation Office, more than 50,000 scams were reported at tax time last year.

NAB Group Security Advisory & Awareness Manager, Laura Hartley, warned customers to stay alert as criminals may attempt to impersonate the ATO to gain access to individuals’ and businesses’ money and information.

“In 2021, the ATO received over 50,000 reports of scams, with at least $800,000 reported lost,” said Ms Hartley.

“Criminals impersonating the ATO around this time of year are particularly focused on tax refund scams, where scammers say you need to pay a processing fee to have your tax refund released.”

Scammers may also try tricking people into a ‘tax-owed’ scam, where scammers claim you owe a tax debt and that you must pay to avoid being arrested.

“We also see Tax File Number and Australian Business Number (ABN) scams, where fake websites offer to provide a Tax File Number or ABN for a fee, maybe for a refund, but instead they steal your money and personal information,” Ms Hartley said.


Stay protected against tax scams

People can protect themselves against tax scams by being vigilant if they receive a text message or an email or phone call claiming to be from the ATO.

“If you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming to be from the ATO stating that you’re due a refund, threatening you with arrest or stating that you must pay money to receive a tax refund, hang up,”  Ms Hartley said.

“Remember, the ATO will never ask you to pay your tax debt into a non-ATO bank account and they won’t threaten you with an immediate arrest.”

The ATO would also never ask individuals to provide information such as their Tax File Number or credit card details via email or SMS.

“If in doubt, you can call the ATO on the number listed on their official website to confirm if something is legitimate, or you can also ask your accountant.”


More information
Audio file

Customers, banking & finance


Media Enquiries

For all media enquiries, please contact the NAB Media Line on 03 7035 5015

Download media content


MP4 6 MB Download

Related Articles

  • Cyber Security

Stacey’s $6m save

When Stacey was asked by a customer to transfer $6 million to another account, everything seemed right, until she noticed a typo.  

  • 17.06.2022
  • Time to read 4 min read
  • Scams

“No, mate, I’m not going to do it until I speak to somebody from NAB.”

This is the moment a scam savvy customer stopped a criminal in his tracks.   NAB customer Ray from NSW recognised the red flags of a scammer trying to impersonate the bank who was encouraging him to click a link in a text message.

  • 28.02.2024
  • Time to read 3 min read
  • Customers

NAB CEO on the economy, simplification, and the future of banking

NAB CEO Ross McEwan has expressed optimism about the state of the economy during a wide-ranging discussion at the ABA/TTBC Economic Forecast 2024 event, while also noting the need to reduce red tape to better support the growth of small businesses in Australia.

  • 26.02.2024
  • Time to read 1 min read

Quick links

Business Research and Insights

For more business news and analysis, visit NAB’s Business Research and Insights .

NAB Security Podcast

For more insights about cyber security and fraud, and practical tips on how to stay safe, listen in to NAB’s Security Podcast series.

NAB tech blog

For more insights about technology and the digital developments enabling change for customers, visit the NAB tech blog on Medium.