You should keep records for long enough so that your assessment includes all the information. The rules for maintaining your records are rather strict and must be followed closely. The five-year retention period covers the time needed to review all assessments, but if an assessment is being reappraised by Career Services staff (or another agency), then it will also cover any periods of revaluation within that same timeframe as well! After 5 years, the key to keeping your taxes secure is having them shredded. Throwing away tax documents won’t keep criminals out, and in fact, may make it easier for creeps like hackers who want access to all our private information!
“Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen personal information, including your Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.”
Your TFN is your most valuable asset, and it should only be given out as required by the Australian Tax Office (ATO), other government departments such as Centrelink or superannuation funds. Don’t let anyone else get their hands on this information!
Avoid carrying documents such as your birth certificate or passport in a wallet or handbag unless you need them. Don’t store personal information, such as TFNs, passwords and pin numbers, in your mobile phone.
- Never leave registration papers, expired drivers licences, utility bills or spare house keys in the glove box of your car, even when it is locked. Use a locked mailbox or a post office box if you regularly receive large volumes of mail.
- Shred or destroy documents that contain any personal information.
Know the Signs of Identity Theft
“If you know or suspect that someone has stolen your tax file number (TFN) or is using your tax-related information illegally, phone us on 1800 467 033 as soon as you can.”
Unfortunately, the compromise of business email accounts is an increasingly common occurrence. Fraudsters can gain access to corporate emails and create fake ones with your company’s logo in order to steal personal identifying information or even worse- defraud you of money!
Staff education is critical. If you receive a suspected scam phishing email, do not:
- click on any links
- open any attachments
- download any files
- install any applications.
These files may install a virus on your computer to steal identity credentials.
Contractors must ensure that waste ATO information is destroyed in accordance with government standards
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has strict guidelines for the disposal of your confidential information. All contractors must follow these standards to prevent unauthorised disclosure which could lead to a hefty fine or even jail time!
destruction methods include:
- wet pulping