Carbon tax countdown sparks scam alert

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Carbon tax countdown sparks scam alert

Phone calls offering carbon price compensation aren’t a surprise windfall for your business, they’re a scam.

Amidst ongoing debate over the merits of the Government’s soon-to-begin carbon tax, comes a warning for small business about potential carbon scammers.

The worry is that scammers might call businesses offering carbon tax “compensation”, asking for your bank details. As the Scamwatch site points out, the government won’t call you to offer carbon price compensation.

The Scamwatch site warns about phone calls:

  • asking for your bank account or personal details,
  • claiming you need to pay or transfer money to receive a compensation payment or tax payment, or
  • offering to sell you carbon credits or permits for a carbon pricing mechanism or emissions trading scheme.

The site also recommends against having lots of staff authorised to make payments or orders.

While small businesses will not be taxed directly, under the carbon tax, concern continues over the level of exposure they will have to costs passed down the supply chain by big business. We note this story which quotes Master Builders’ advice to builders that it’s “quite likely” the cost of supplies will increase.

Meanwhile, if you are thinking of raising prices as a reaction, be careful.  The ACCC has warned against businesses blaming the tax for unreasonable price increases. It’s reportedly setting up a taskforce that will investigate price increases. As their web site says:  “The ACCC can act against misleading claims if a business falsely links a price rise with the carbon price.”

Penalties include infringement notices of $6600 for a corporation where the ACCC “considers a claim is false or misleading.”

Note though that the ACCC says that while companies might advertise “‘Our prices have increased by X% because of the carbon price’.” This isn’t necessarily misleading.

As this story notes, it’s not the price increase that’s the issue, it’s whether the increase by be proven and justified (our words). We recommend reading this story and visiting the ACCC web page about the carbon tax, in particular this page.

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