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  • Shining the light on moonshiners - ATO uncovers alleged illegal alcohol production

    More than 70 Australian Taxation Office (ATO) personnel have conducted access without notice visits across several sites in Victoria this week, as part of ongoing compliance activity in relation to suspected illicit alcohol supply and manufacture operations.

    ATO Assistant Commissioner Ian Read said officers attended seven business and residential sites across Shepparton and Melbourne to gather crucial information.

    “An ATO audit identified an organised group involved in the alleged manufacture and supply of a significant quantity of illicit alcohol where Excise, Income Tax and GST have not been paid.

    “The formal access powers of the ATO are very rarely used and the decision to carry out the operation was not taken lightly.

    “This compliance activity conducted over the last two days was crucial to the audit process as it allowed our officers to secure vital documents. Attending the sites without prior notice ensured the documentation was not removed or destroyed.

    “This activity demonstrates the ATO's commitment to protecting honest businesses by detecting and disrupting the illicit alcohol trade, and dealing with those who deliberately avoid their taxation obligations,” Mr Read said.

    Illicit manufacturing includes the distillation of alcohol without an appropriate excise licence, and the distillation of spirits by licensed manufacturers where the true volume of production is deliberately concealed, with a view to deliberately understating their excise duty liability.

    If people have any knowledge or concerns about the illicit manufacture of alcohol, they should report it to the ATO on 1800 060 062 or their local police station.

    Last modified: 27 Jun 2019QC 59468