• 7. Update on the analysis of GEERS data


    Grant Darmanin (ATO)

    • The ATO obtained data from DEEWR relating to the General Employee Entitlement & Redundancy Scheme (GEERS).
    • The data relates to 1105 company directors who had been associated with 2 or more liquidated companies where former employees had made a claim under GEERS.
    • The ATO analysed the data, profiling the directors and their related entities across ATO and ASIC systems to establish whether this data could be used to identify fraudulent phoenix activity. It was mentioned that ACCC may have publicly available data that could further assist this process.
    • The ATO's profiling included examining the registration, reporting, lodgement and payment obligations of company directors and their related entities, to try to establish whether the phoenix behaviour was fraudulent in nature. Other data examined included repeat liquidations, bankruptcies and debt write off, to establish patterns of behaviour.
    • Key findings are as follows:
      • 1105 company directors were found to be associated with 17,290 relevant entities.
      • 9,778 (57%) of those entities were companies and 2,623 (15%) were trusts.
      • 11,664 (67.5%) of the entity population appeared to be in the micro market. The ATO defines a micro market client as an entity with a turnover less than $2m pa.
      • 2,756 (16%) of the entity population appeared to be in the SME market. The ATO defines a SME market client as an entity with a turnover between $2m - $250m pa
      • 6,540 (38%) of the entities operate in NSW, 4,085 (24%) in Victoria, 3,537 (20.5%) in Queensland, around 5% in both Western Australia and South Australia and 0.5% in both Northern Territory and Tasmania.
      • ANZIC coding indicates the entities are mainly operating in labour intensive industries and trades, such as building and construction. Property development and the finance industry were both also well represented. NB: Around 5,000 entities did not provide an indication of their industry.
    • The ATO is now using GEERS data to assist Phoenix risk identification, risk assessment and case selection processes. It is proving to be an excellent source of intelligence.
    • The ATO will continue to receive quarterly updates from DEEWR of GEERS data. The ATO enquired if DEEWR had noticed an increase in the number of GEERS claims over the past 18 months, however there was no evidence to support this. However DEEWR had noted an increase in claims during the last quarter due to a large number of companies proceeding into liquidation.
    • ASIC mentioned that the Publications/Statistics page of their website www.asic.gov.au contains insolvency and company registration statistics by financial year.
    • The ATO thanked Murray Furlong (Director Fair Work Building & Construction) for raising awareness in relation to the GEERS data.
      Last modified: 14 Dec 2012QC 26757