ATO Community

Re: Unitax TFN scam

Initiate

Views 1266

Replies 14

I see on this board I am not the only parent/person to object to the utter grubs at Unitax from scamming unsuspecting people by extorting $99 for what is otherwise a free application.

info@taxfilenumber.org is the address of the grubs in question.

But I am completely underwhelmed at the response of ATO in these posts to do seemingly do anything about them.

Now the ATO defense  is that its a legal business providing a service. Seriously? Well just because something is not illegal, doesn't make it right. Half the tax code is written in terms of deeming taxable events even if the cashflows dont exactly match. And the ATO is forever moralising about "doing the right thing".  Well, the right thing is for an honest kid like my son to get a TFN so he can contribute to society. What is unconscionable is a business whose sole existence is to scam people being allowed to intersect with ATO systems. Surely if the ATO had any backbone it would reject any data interface with a known grub like Unitax. Its that simple. What have you got to lose? This is where the power of the ATO can and should be directed - helping make the total tax system fair and weeding out what is obviously a corruption of process.

Come on - do something to help people!

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

Most helpful response

ATO Certified Response

Community Manager

Replies 9

Hi @Rheinmetall

 

We’re sorry to hear about you and your son’s experience applying for a tax file number. Unfortunately, other community members have shared similar concerns around the fact that it is legal for registered tax professionals to charge for this service.

 

We understand that your concern extends beyond the fee and is more about the ability for businesses to offer this service when people can apply for tax file numbers directly with us free of charge. We hear your frustration and we thank you for taking the time to share your experience. By sharing your experience with our community, others can see that applying for a tax file number is free to do directly through us.  

 

The Tax Practitioners Board regulate registered tax professionals in Australia and are best placed to provide you with information on how businesses become a registered tax professional.

 

May I ask if your son has received his tax file number?

 

Please know that we take concerns around the integrity of the tax and super system very seriously and have passed your feedback onto the relevant area.

 

Thank you again for sharing your experience with us and we hope that you have a safe and happy holiday.

14 REPLIES 14

Devotee

Replies 1

@Rheinmetall I certainly understand your frustration and I have had a couple of clients make the same mistake. As they are operating within the bounds of the law there isn't anything these guys can do. You paid for them to get a tfn they did that. 

As annoying as it is these guys can only take action if a tax law is broken. 

 

Maybe you could report them to the tax practitioners board.

Initiate

Replies 0

This whole "bounds of the law" is exactly the problem. Just because something is permissible doesn't mean it is beneficial. Didn't we just have a Royal Commission point out that often times the black-letter law was not broken, but the ethical and social contract was? It was "legal" not long ago for similar grubs to claim massive damages for car injury, until Green Slip pricing naturally went through the roof and then, at the stroke of a pen, those legal claims became capped by policy. And everyone benefited from weeding out grubs. Same with deeming and other transfer pricing rules. 

It is simply not acceptable to hide behind the status quo and simply watch grubs prosper at the expense of the innocent, albeit naive. 

Latitude credit card company won't allow credit transactions for lottery and gaming spend. Which is legal. Why? Because they don't resile form the social cost.

 

We're better than this as a society. 

I wrote to the ACCC, the Accreditation muppets, the ATO, rang the bank to contest the charge, and gave my son a "here are the facts about humanity and the internet" lecture of the umpteenth time. 

The ATO can make a difference, maybe with some work, but that's what our taxes  are for. They just have to choose. One less filthy grub and we will all be better off. 

 

Initiate

Replies 0

Here is the example of ethical vacuum that Michael "scratch my back" O'Neil of the grandiosly nomenclatured "Australian Tax Practitioners Board" has responsed with. Instead of focussing on the ethics in question, they chose to view the complaint relating to fees. Well the fee is the price my son paid to learn how grubs like Unitax operate. Probably cheap actually. The real complaint is the absolutely obvious scam being conducted by the grubs at Unitax. Here is classic example of just how you fail to self-regulate, and thereby condone grub behaviour (as well as being weak as....)

 

"I refer to the complaint made by you to the Tax Practitioners Board (the Board) on 22 December 2020 concerning Unitax Accounting Pty Ltd. [aka massive grubs with no ethics]

The Board has finalised decided to take no further action in relation to this complaint. [Failure to regulate]

In deciding to take no further action [i.e to condone grubs], the Board notes that it the issues raised in your complaint relate to a fee dispute [no, it relates to ethics]. The Board is unable to resolve complaints concerning fees, because the fees charged by a registered tax practitioner is not a matter covered under the Code of Professional Conduct in the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA).


The Board also notes that Unitax Accounting Pty Ltd is a registered practitioner [OMG - how?!]  and by assisting clients to obtain a tax file number they are providing a service for which they are entitled to charge a fee [you see - this is where the vested interest comes in] They do not represent themselves as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) [no they are just filthy grubs, happily sanctioned by this board]

Further information on the Board’s position on fee arrangements can be found on the Board’s website at ....


Yours sincerely,
Michael "Vacuum" O’Neill
Secretary and CEO Tax Practitioners Board 

Initiate

Replies 0

2nd response from the Tax Practitioners Board "Compliance" department:

 

"

 

As our finalisation letter stated, the Board notes that Unitax Accounting Pty Ltd (Unitax) is a registered practitioner, and by assisting clients to obtain a tax file number they are providing a service for which they are entitled to charge a fee. They do not represent themselves as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The terms and conditions are listed on the website of Unitax Accounting Pty Ltd and available to all users before the users proceed with their website application.

 

We understand your concerns over the way Unitax is running their website and we have received similar concerns before. However, based on current information available, it appears that the operation of the Unitax website is legal and it has not breached any code of conduct outlined in the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA). The Board’s function is governed by TASA, therefore the Board is unable to take any further action at this stage.

 

If you are not satisfied with how we have dealt with your complaint, or for more information on who can assist you further, you can go tohttps://www.tpb.gov.au/complaints.

 

Kind Regards,"

Most helpful response

ATO Certified Response

Community Manager

Replies 9

Hi @Rheinmetall

 

We’re sorry to hear about you and your son’s experience applying for a tax file number. Unfortunately, other community members have shared similar concerns around the fact that it is legal for registered tax professionals to charge for this service.

 

We understand that your concern extends beyond the fee and is more about the ability for businesses to offer this service when people can apply for tax file numbers directly with us free of charge. We hear your frustration and we thank you for taking the time to share your experience. By sharing your experience with our community, others can see that applying for a tax file number is free to do directly through us.  

 

The Tax Practitioners Board regulate registered tax professionals in Australia and are best placed to provide you with information on how businesses become a registered tax professional.

 

May I ask if your son has received his tax file number?

 

Please know that we take concerns around the integrity of the tax and super system very seriously and have passed your feedback onto the relevant area.

 

Thank you again for sharing your experience with us and we hope that you have a safe and happy holiday.

Initiate

Replies 1

Thanks for the reply Nicola. I appreciate very much that you recognise the issue is beyond the money, and more about the amorality of an agent that the Tax Practioners Board endorse despite it absolutely obvious to even the most ardent "fee for service" advocate that innocent people are being scammed in plain sight of regulators and the rest of the industry. 

My son has not received any response from the unethical grubs at Unitax. Which comes as no surprise - I doubt he ever will. 

Thanks for getting back and Seasons Greetinds to you too. 

 

Community Manager

Replies 0

Hi @Rheinmetall 

 

Your son should receive his tax file number within 28 days from application – please let us know if this doesn't happen. 

 

Take care. 

I'm new

Replies 6

Hi,  My minor has been caught out by this business as well.  It may not be a scam, but it is certaining misleading and a con!

I am dissappointed in the ATO in allowing this to continue.  It is known to you and it is the first hit that appears on a Google search.  The ATO has a responsibility to taxpayers and part of that should be to ensure that new "workers" can apply for a TFN without being misled or misdirected.  

Why is the ATO not the first hit on the search engine?  Why has the ATO not taken action that ensures these businesses disclose that this application is free via the ATO website. You are allowing this misrepresentation.

It may be a legimate service they are providing, but the ATO who is in place to support tax payers is allowing future tax payers to be exploited.

More needs to be done, so other people and especially "Minors" can not fall into this trap. 

I also question the legality of this in respect to Minors - what is the ATO's position on this please.

Regards

Community Moderator

Replies 5

Hi @Acctable 

 

Thankyou for taking the time to share your experience and frustration with us. As you can see other community members have also shared their concerns.

 

Unfortunately search engines place paid ads above standard search results, so while our website is the first result, it doesn't appear at the top of the page. Discussion threads like these help others see that applying for a tax file number is free to do directly through us.

 

As we take the integrity of the tax and super system very seriously, we have passed your feedback onto the Tax practitioners board. They regulate tax professionals in Australia and are the best source to provide you with information on how they are regulated and the guidelines they need to follow.

 

When applying for a tax file number children under 12 need their parent/guardian to sign their application and provide linking documents. 13-15 year old are able to sign their own applications.

 

Other community members in this thread have also shared that they have been able to get a refund so it maybe something to look into.