Based in Tauranga and specialising in quality business advice and income tax return preparation at an affordable price
Malcolm Webster Limited - Chartered Accountants

Tax Refund Hoaxes

Beware of phishing and online scammers!

In January 2011 the NZ Herald reported the story of a Southland woman who lost $32,000 from falling prey to an India-based scam. 


We’ve received a number of calls over the last year from clients in Tauranga who have received letters, emails or phone calls from parties claiming to represent the IRD advising our clients were entitled to refunds.  All of these were scams.

Earlier this year the IRD issued a statement confirming that they would never ask for personal information to be sent to them by email. The IRD have also confirmed that they would never send emails offering people refunds.

Don't click on the links

Some of the phishing scams use poor English and contain spelling mistakes.  Others use phrases that are not normally used in this country - eg, "annual calculations of fiscal activity". 

If you are directed to what looks like an IRD website or form - check the web address. You can do this by simply retyping IRD's url and the rest of the address into your browser.   You'll probably get a message that the page is not available or does not exist.  That will just confirm that it is a scam.  Don’t click on the link in the email.  That will likely take you to a "pretend" page, and ask you for personal information.

Delete the email permanently and also delete it from your trash. If unsure, please contact Adele at our office or contact the IRD at Also check out the IRD's own warning here.

Also be aware that a phone number could be a fake.  In June 2011 a Tauranga woman received a call from a person advising her that her anti-virus software needed upgrading.  She rang the number back to validate the caller, and was lead along a convincing path by the receptionist and back to the original caller.  But it was all a scam and, later, police established that the number was routed via Wellington to India. These people are capable of remotely installing software on your computer and stealing your private details.  Be very wary about such calls, which seen to have come more common during 2012.  If in doubt, hang up the phone.