From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

The taxman cometh. The ATO seems to be on the warpath — or is it? This from a concerned reader:

“I know now of seven people who have received a letter on Monday from the ATO threatening them with prosecution if they don’t lodge a tax return from 10+ years ago. What is strange is that they are all mid-20s lawyers. All were students (high school or university) at the time being claimed by the ATO (around 2003/2004 seems to be the key year), from different parts of the country. The threatening letters appear to be really upsetting people as there apparently is no procedure set out on how to respond, as well as saying that it is a final notice with previous notices received. All I have spoken with have not received previous notices — this is the first they have heard of anything. In addition, they seem to have been unemployed or had no income at the time (as they were full-time students). Ten years ago is way past the five-year year ATO record-keeping time. A lot of young lawyers are very stressed out, panicking, and upset. Seems like a screw-up by the ATO. I’m sure it will all be OK and turn out to be a scam which we can make sure no-one falls for quickly.”

We’ll ask the ATO and let you know what they say. In the meantime, does anyone know if this is a scam? Email us if you do.

OMG! Big Brother is following. It’s not just theatre companies in Queensland that are overly cautious about offending the current LNP government. A mole working at an ad agency that runs public service campaigns for the government says a directive was issued to the company’s social media specialists regarding Twitter followers. Apparently Twitter profiles for Queensland government public safety campaigns are not allowed to follow or retweet any users who are affiliated with parties other than the LNP. Talk about taking the social out of social media. Meanwhile, the state government’s media advisers could use a few lessons in tact and decorum on social media, after this Facebook response to a voter unhappy with the announcement of a major highway development in Toowoomba:

Tips wonders what the “paper pushers” working in the back offices of hospitals, Legal Aid services and other essential services think of that?

Faux homeless. Hang on — that man’s not struggling with homelessness, so why was he hogging other Big Issue vendors’ turf yesterday?

That’s the well-heeled mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle on the left — and good on him for helping promote the Big Issue. But Ms Tips would still prefer to purchase from another vendor …

Over to you. Our own Bernard Keane did a fine job summing up donations to political parties up till June last year, via the annual AEC dump (which showed the Libs doing much better than Labor at filling the coffers). But there’s a lot of interesting data there, and some mysterious names we know little or nothing about. If you spot something interesting or know the inside story behind one of the donations, let us know (and you can use this anonymous link). We rely on our Crikey stringers to help us fill in the blanks. You can start looking here.

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed anonymous form

Peter Fray

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