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Australian Tax Office sets up taskforce to prevent illegal phoenix activity

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is bringing together more than 30 federal, state, and territory agencies in the Phoenix Taskforce aimed at combating illegal phoenix activity.

Illegal phoenix activity happens when a new company is created to continue the business of a company that has been deliberately liquidated to avoid paying its debts. This fraudulent activity impacts the business community, employees, contractors, the government and environment, costing up to $5.13 billion per year.

The Taskforce is taking a coordinated and strategic approach to dealing with illegal phoenix activity and to prevent it materialising in the first place. By bringing together intelligence and harnessing the tools of each agency, illegal phoenix activity can be identified and disrupted more quickly.

Since its formation, the Phoenix Taskforce has achieved a number of positive outcomes:

  • prosecuted 25 illegal phoenix operators
  • action against 12 registered liquidators and 79 company directors
  • contributed to a reduction in businesses displaying risk factors of non-compliance and a reduction in newly-created entities linked to phoenix activity
  • inter-agency referrals have positive correlations to identify businesses potentially at risk of illegal phoenix activity.
  • the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce is currently actioning seven criminal phoenix matters.

For more information about the Phoenix Taskforce visit www.ato.gov.au/phoenixtaskforce

If you suspect phoenix activity, report it on 1800 807 875, or at www.ato.gov.au/reportphoenix

Last reviewed: 
28 February 2019