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  • Tax crime

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    Illegal phoenix activity

    Illegal phoenix activity is when a company is liquidated, wound up or abandoned to avoid paying its debts. A new company is then started to continue the same business activities without the debt. When this happens:

    • employees miss out on wages, superannuation and entitlements
    • other businesses are put at a competitive disadvantage
    • suppliers or sub-contractors are left unpaid
    • the community misses out on revenue that could have contributed to community services.

    We target illegal phoenix activity as part of the Phoenix Taskforce, which comprises 38 federal, state and territory government agencies working together to combat illegal phoenix activity.

    We've developed sophisticated data matching tools to identify, manage and monitor suspected illegal phoenix operators. We support businesses who want to do the right thing and will deal firmly with those who choose to engage in illegal phoenix behaviour.

    See also:

    Refund fraud, identity crime and organised crime

    Tax crime affects the whole community by reducing the revenue that is used to fund essential community services. Those people who try to evade or cheat the tax and super system will get caught and we will prosecute them accordingly. We will not tolerate this behaviour.

    We take all forms of tax crime seriously and we are constantly increasing our ability to tackle it. We partner with domestic and international intelligence, and regulatory and law enforcement agencies, to disrupt perpetrators of serious financial crime and bring them to account. Our focus is on activities involving refund fraud, identity crime and organised crime and those who enable them.

    As part of our fight against tax crime, we are a member of a number of taskforces, including the:

    • Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5)
    • Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT)
    • Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF).

    To report any known or suspected illegal behaviour you can either:

    • complete the tip-off form (the form is also available in the contact us section of the ATO app)
    • phone us on the ATO Tip-off hotline on 1800 060 062.

    See also:

    Find out about other areas that attract our attention:

    Last modified: 07 Dec 2020QC 58475