The ATO gets serious

Many will have seen the Daily Telegraph article entitled “ATO Raids 12 firms for fraud evidence” recently as they step up their stance on premeditated phoenix activity.  It was interesting in an earlier unrelated article the ATO had advised that it headed up a taskforce made up of a number of government bodies that now had increased information sharing capabilities.

At this time we are yet to become aware of any of the players that have been the subject of any of the visits, but as can be expected there is much behind the scenes chatter about just who may be on the list!

In the aforementioned earlier article the Deputy Commissioner also indicated that a Trusts taskforce had been set up approximately 18 months ago to look at the inappropriate use of trusts to “conceal their interests, mischaracterise transactions and artificially deal with Trust income to avoid paying their fair share of tax.”  Apparently the trust taskforce has already resulted in two people being taken before the courts for alleged criminal behaviour relating to trusts, no doubt their stories will be told once the final decision is handed down.

The Phoenix Task force is made up of the following agencies:-

  • Australian Taxation Office,
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission,
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Australian Crime Commission
  • Australian Business Registrar
  • Fair work Ombudsman
  • Fair work Building and Construction
  • Federal Department of the Environment
  • Federal Department of Employment
  • Federal department of Immigration and Border protection
  • Office of State Revenue – New South Wales
  • Office of State Revenue – Victoria

It will be interesting to see what this mega group actually achieves.