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Tax crime

We detect and deal with those who avoid paying their fair share of tax or try to claim payments they're not entitled to.

Last updated 30 April 2023

Illegal phoenix activity

When a company is liquidated, wound up or abandoned to avoid paying its debts, it is known as Illegal phoenix activity. 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're working with other government agencies through the Phoenix Taskforce to stamp out 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.

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:

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

  • complete the tip-off form
  • phone us on the ATO Tip-off hotline on 1800 060 062.