Show download pdf controls
  • The black economy explained

    Most Australians believe in a level playing field and feel it’s unfair for others to gain a competitive advantage by intentionally doing the wrong thing. The black economy is constantly changing forms and is often supported by the incorrect assumption that participation in the black economy is a victimless crime. It includes:

    • employers mistreating workers by not paying what they are entitled to
    • dishonest businesses not paying tax or superannuation to undercut their competitors
    • criminals operating business models outside of our regulatory systems.

    This puts pressure on Australians who are doing the right thing. It also has broader impacts on our community by reducing funds for essential services such as health, education, transport and infrastructure, and community services.

    The black economy is not limited to tax issues. It is a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon operating across Australia’s workplace relations, financial, welfare, procurement and migration systems. Black economy behaviours include:

    • demanding or paying for work cash in hand to avoid obligations
    • not reporting or under-reporting income
    • underpayment of wages
    • bypassing visa restrictions and visa fraud
    • identity fraud
    • ABN, GST, and duty fraud
    • illegal drugs and tobacco
    • sham contracting – presenting an employment relationship as a contracting arrangement
    • illegal phoenixing - liquidating and re-forming a business to avoid obligations
    • excise evasion
    • money laundering
    • unregulated gambling
    • counterfeit goods.
    Last modified: 27 Mar 2019QC 58364