Media: Protect yourself from illegal phoenix activity
https://tv.ato.gov.au/ato-tv/media?v=bd1bdiuba5ynipExternal Link (Duration: 00:33)
The Phoenix Taskforce was established in 2014 to detect, deter and disrupt illegal phoenixing.
We provide education and advice on how businesses can protect themselves and not break the law. We also work with specific industries and supply chains to close off opportunities.
Phoenix Taskforce agencies share information and use sophisticated data matching tools to identify those promoting or engaging in illegal phoenix activity.
We take action against phoenix operators by:
- working together to disrupt their business model and make it financially unviable
- removing their ability to operate
- applying financial penalties
- prosecuting the worst offenders.
The most serious cases are referred to the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce.
There are civil and criminal offences for those who promote or engage in illegal phoenix activity. 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.
Where we suspect phoenix activity we can also:
- estimate liabilities for businesses that aren't meeting their lodgment obligations
- make directors personally liable under the director penalty regime for their company's liabilities
- retain refunds where a business has failed to provide an outstanding notification (didn't lodge).
You can report suspected illegal phoenix activity by making an anonymous tip-off.
We are verifying the identity of directors through the director identification numberExternal Link (director ID) initiative. This initiative is:
- helping to prevent the use of false and fraudulent director identities
- making it easier for government regulators to trace directors’ relationships with companies over time to help better identify and eliminate director involvement in unlawful activity.
Along with ASIC, we have received additional resources to help target facilitators and pre-insolvency advisers.
We are continuing to work with ASIC to establish better data sharing and improved analytics capability. This includes establishing a compliance program to target individuals who promote and facilitate illegal phoenix activity.
Up until 31 December 2023, we have raised more than $2.18 billion in liabilities from audits and reviews of illegal phoenix activities. We've also returned more than $986 million to the community.
Achievements for 2022–2023
In 2022–2023, we:
- completed 2,967 audits and reviews
- collected more than $107 million in cash, contributing to government spending on essential services
- received more than 2,500 referrals of suspected illegal phoenix activity through the Tax Integrity Centre.
The Phoenix Taskforce also:
- banned or disqualified 5 directors from being involved in the management of a corporation
- shared 567 disclosures of information between agencies, helping identify those engaging in or promoting illegal phoenix activity.
The Phoenix Taskforce is made up of key federal, state and territory government agencies.
The current members are:
- ACT Revenue OfficeExternal Link
- Attorney-General's Department South Australia, Consumer and Business ServicesExternal Link
- Australian Border ForceExternal Link
- Australian Competition & Consumer CommissionExternal Link
- Australian Criminal Intelligence CommissionExternal Link
- Australian Federal PoliceExternal Link
- Australian Financial Security AuthorityExternal Link
- Australian Securities & Investments CommissionExternal Link
- Australian Taxation Office
- Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis CentreExternal Link
- Clean Energy RegulatorExternal Link
- Consumer Affairs VictoriaExternal Link
- Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE)External Link
- Department of Employment and Workplace RelationsExternal Link
- Department of Health and Aged CareExternal Link
- Department of Industry, Innovation and ScienceExternal Link
- Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and SafetyExternal Link
- Department of Treasury and Finance SAExternal Link
- Environment Protection Authority VictoriaExternal Link
- Fair Work OmbudsmanExternal Link
- Labour Hire Authority VictoriaExternal Link
- NSW Environment Protection AuthorityExternal Link
- NSW Long Service CorporationExternal Link
- NSW Fair TradingExternal Link
- NSW Police ForceExternal Link
- NSW State Insurance Regulatory AuthorityExternal Link
- Office of State Revenue QLDExternal Link
- Queensland Building and Construction CommissionExternal Link
- Queensland Department of Environment and ScienceExternal Link
- Queensland Office of Industrial RelationsExternal Link
- Return to Work SAExternal Link
- Revenue NSWExternal Link
- Revenue WAExternal Link
- State Revenue Office TASExternal Link
- State Revenue Office VICExternal Link
- Territory Revenue Office NTExternal Link
- Victoria PoliceExternal Link
- Victorian Building AuthorityExternal Link
- Victorian Legal Services Board and CommissionerExternal Link
- Western Australia Police ForceExternal Link
- WorkCover QueenslandExternal Link
- WorkSafe ACTExternal Link.