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  • Phoenix Taskforce outcomes

    Through the Phoenix Taskforce we work with partner agencies to detect, reduce and deter illegal phoenix activity.

    The taskforce was established in 2014. Up until 30 September 2020 the ATO has raised more than $1.34 billion in liabilities from audits and reviews of illegal phoenix activities. It's also returned more than $602 million to the community.

    The Phoenix Taskforce now has 38 member agencies representing a broad range of interests, including:

    • law enforcement
    • corporate regulation
    • workplace rights and entitlements
    • the construction industry
    • labour hire licensing
    • consumer affairs.

    Achievements for 2019–20

    In 2019–20 the ATO:

    • completed 426 audits and reviews
    • collected more than $50 million in cash, contributing to government spending on essential services
    • received more than 3,300 referrals of suspected illegal phoenix activity through the Tax Integrity Centre.

    The Phoenix Taskforce also:

    • recorded five criminal convictions
    • banned or disqualified eleven directors from being involved in the management of a corporation.

    Highlights

    • New civil and criminal offences for those who promote or engage in illegal phoenix activity came into effect on 1 April 2020. This includes penalties for removing assets to hide them from creditors when a company is wound up. ASIC and liquidators also have additional powers to recover assets for the benefit of employees and other creditors. If we suspect illegal phoenix activity we can also
      • estimate liabilities for businesses that aren't meeting their lodgment obligations
      • make directors personally liable for their company's liabilities
      • retain refunds where a business has failed to provide an outstanding notification.
       
    • With ASIC, we've been granted extra resources that will help us to target facilitators and pre-insolvency advisers from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2025.
    • A former company director from Adelaide was sentenced to four months imprisonment and disqualified from managing corporations for five years after pleading guilty to illegal phoenix activity.
    • ASIC disqualified a company director from managing corporations for five years following their involvement in the failure of five companies.
    • ASIC disqualified two brothers from managing corporations for four years following their involvement in the failure of multiple companies.
    • Phoenix Taskforce partner agencies shared more than 1,000 disclosures of information in 2019-20 to identify those engaging in or promoting illegal phoenix activity.
    • The Attorney-General's Department conducted investigations and claims into 32 matters with suspected illegal phoenix activity, relating to approximately $17 million in Fair Entitlements Guarantee assistance paid to employees of companies in liquidation.

    See also:

    Last modified: 22 Dec 2020QC 55340