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  • Report a concern

    Why it's a problem

    It's important to report your concerns to us as the information you provide may help us protect honest businesses and the community.

    While the majority of people understand the importance of paying their fair share of tax and meeting their super obligations correctly, some members of the community will avoid or reduce the amount of tax or super they need to pay which is sometimes called tax evasion. They gain an unfair advantage over those who do the right thing. If you are concerned that you or someone you know is doing the wrong thing – you can tell us about it.

    We encourage you to say ‘no’ to honest businesses being disadvantaged and report your concern when you see it.

    Examples of concerns you may have

    You might be offered:

    • a discount for cash, a cash deal or a 'cashie', without a receipt or a discount for cash/mates rates
    • a job for cash wages, without payslips or superannuation entitlements.

    You might see someone:

    • not ringing up a sale on their till or keeping the till drawer open
    • paying cash wages
    • having two sets of books
    • deleting transactions on the point of sale system
    • avoiding paying child support or other obligations
    • not declaring all of their income
    • failing to lodge returns or keep records.

    Other examples may include:

    • the conduct of a tax practitioner (if you are concerned about the conduct of a tax practitioner you should complain to the Tax Practitioners Board)
    • business owners claiming personal expenses on a business account (so they can claim deductions)
    • business owners not lodging their activity statement or tax returns.

    Tax professionals who are concerned about the conduct of another practitioner

    As a tax practitioner, you might:

    • see others representing themselves as practitioners when they are not
    • be concerned about the inappropriate conduct of a client's previous agent, (consider voluntary disclosure so your client avoids possible penalties and interest charges)
    • wish to report your concerns to the Tax Practitioners BoardExternal Link or directly to the ATO.

    See also:

    How to report

    It only takes a few minutes to tell us about your concern. Your information is treated confidentially and you don't have to give us your personal details if you don’t want to.

    We review all community reports and take action where appropriate.

    Remember to make note of the reference number when you submit your form electronically – you will need to quote it if you want to add any information later.

    To report a concern about tax evasion:

    • use our Report a concern tool available in the ATO app, from the app store
    • submit a report using our tax evasion reporting form from your smartphone, computer or tablet
    • lodge an unpaid super enquiry about your employer (but not about another business)
    • write to us – mark all letters 'in confidence' and post to:
    • Australian Taxation Office
      Tax Evasion
      Locked Bag 6050
      DANDENONG VIC 3175
    • call us on 1800 060 062
    • if you do not speak English well and want to talk to a tax officer, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 for help with your call
    • tax practitioners can provide information by calling 13 72 86 (Fast Key Code 3 4) – the service allows tax practitioners to report instances of unlawful behaviour directly to the ATO such as – unregistered preparers representing themselves as tax agents.

    To admit 'you' made a mistake

    If you choose to tell us about an oversight you have made in meeting your tax or super obligations – before we come to you – we may reconsider the penalties and interest charges you would normally incur. You can:

    Information we need from you

    The more information you give us, the better we can work to protect honest businesses and the community.

    • If you are reporting an individual
      • name
      • address
      • phone number.
    • If you are reporting a business    
      • name of the business
      • Australian business number (ABN)
      • address
      • phone number.
    • Information on a group or network if there is more than one person or entity involved.
    • Details of your concern, for example    
      • hides income
      • creates false expenses or tax deductions
      • does not lodge tax returns or activity statements
      • encourages payment in cash with no receipt
      • income does not support lifestyle
      • does not pay correct super to employees
      • uses someone else’s identity to claim refunds
      • creates false or fraudulent documents or records
      • gives financial/legal tax advice that does not seem right.

    Our response – the results

    Based on what is reported to us and how much detail we receive, we will cross check the information and assess whether further action is required to protect honest businesses and the community.

    Factors such as the strength of your allegation and the amount of detail provided will help us assess your concern and allow us to take action where appropriate.

    Due to privacy reasons, we can’t update you about any concerns you have reported.

    Recent cases

    Below are examples of concerns which were provided to us by the community, where sufficient information was given to allow us to undertake an investigation.

    Example 1 – Business paying cash in hand wages and not recording cash sales

    A fast food shop was reported for paying cash wages to its employees and not reporting all of its income. As a result of the report, we audited the business and found that it had under-reported large amounts of income and withholding tax. The business owner was prosecuted and convicted of 13 charges of recklessly making false statements.

    Example 2 – Security company avoids its employee obligations

    A number of reports were received that suggested a company was undertaking a number of unfair behaviours such as, forcing employees to work as contractors, paying ‘cash in hand wages’, not paying the correct amounts or any superannuation and not meeting a number of tax and regulatory obligations. An investigation resulted in a significant amount of tax, penalties and interest being applied to the business.

    Example 3 – Social media gives us access to information

    A member of the community reported a taxpayer who had bragged on Facebook about inflating their income tax refund by claiming deductions they were not entitled to. The individual’s age, locality, occupation and high school details were obtained from their Facebook profile. Our investigation resulted in amendments to the deductions and offsets claimed by the taxpayer over two years of tax returns. The taxpayer was required to pay under-reported income tax and shortfall interest charge.

    End of example

    See also:

    Your privacy

    Your privacy is protected by the Privacy Act 1988 and the strict secrecy provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, the Taxation Administration Act 1953 and other tax laws.

    See also:

      Last modified: 01 Aug 2018QC 16789