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Bitcoin tax scammers

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is warning taxpayers to be aware of scammers impersonating the Tax Office and demanding cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin as payment for fake tax debts.

The ATO became aware of these fraudsters late last year with over $50,000 paid in Bitcoin to scammers claiming fake ATO debts.

Once scammers receive payment, it is virtually impossible to recover it as cryptocurrency operates in a digital world.

The ATO is also warning taxpayers to be wary of other tax scams such as those demanding direct deposits into third-party bank accounts, demanding payment via iTunes cards or with a prepaid Visa gift card.

Over 80,000 scams were reported to the ATO in 2017, accounting for almost $2.4 million lost to scammers impersonating the ATO.

Almost one-third of victims were targeted with iTunes gift card scams, resulting in over $900,000 lost to scammers. More than half of all losses (roughly $1.2 million) were from deposits or transfers made directly into third-party bank accounts.

Scammers are also targeting taxpayers’ personal information with many reports of scammers asking for an individual’s Tax File Number.

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Investing in shares vs property in SMSFs

March 19, 2020

Shares and property are two popular investment options for those with a self-managed super fund (SMSF). However, they both have very different attributes and choosing the one that will achieve the best outcome for an SMSF depends on your personal goals and situation.

While the price of shares can vary drastically, property is a relatively stable asset, making it appealing to those who want more security and predictability. Property prices are also negotiable unlike shares, and you can generally borrow money at a lower rate for property purchases.

It may seem hard to find the perfect investment property, but older and undercapitalised properties can be renovated for profit. However, returns from property rentals can be dented due to factors such as land tax, utilities and rates, maintenance and tenancy vacancies.

Shares are more dynamic and volatile than property. One advantage is the accessibility of investing in shares, as you can enter the share market with a few thousand dollars – much less than what you need to invest in a property.

Maintaining a portfolio of quality shares that pay tax-effective dividends may be a good way to fund retirement. With the right portfolio allocation, shares also have the potential to provide a better, stronger income than property rentals, as long as that income is sustainable and increasing.

Property can generally be used as a wealth-creation tool, while shares can create a reliable retirement income. For those who can afford to put more money into investments, it may be a good idea to consider investing and diversifying in both. If you’re unsure about which investment option is right for you, seeking financial advice may be the best option.