On Tues 27.4.21, the ATO posted a statement on its website, about a 62 year old man who has been charged for illegal “phoenix” activity. The Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) investigation, led by the ATO and the AFP, alleges that the man did not remit PAYG withheld from employees’ wages to the ATO, totalling $845,066.

See below for further details.

[Tax Month – April 2021]



A long-standing Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) investigation led by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has seen a 62-year-old man charged in connection with allegations of illegal “phoenix” activity. The Taskforce investigated the activities of a pre-insolvency service provider who has been charged with:

  • nine offences of dishonestly causing a loss to the Commonwealth under the Criminal Code, with charges totalling $845,066.
  • The man also faces a further four offences relating to the obstruction of Commonwealth officials, as it is alleged he prevented ATO officers from undertaking their duties during an access visit.

The charges allege that, through this man,

  • PAYG withheld from employees’ wages was not be remitted to the ATO.
  • As part of this scheme, the man arranged for various parties to take control of a number of businesses, that were in financial difficulty, arranged for payment summaries to be issued to the employees, using the details of these businesses and
  • had straw directors appointed to the businesses, to conceal his involvement and cause the alleged loss to the Commonwealth.

ATO Deputy Commissioner and SFCT Chief Will Day says the partnership of the two taskforces showcases the combined strength of the Commonwealth’s capabilities to tackle crime and evasion affecting the tax system.

The SFCT is an ATO-led, joint-agency taskforce bringing together the knowledge, resources and experience of multiple agencies to identify and address the most serious financial crimes. The SFCT is equipped with the resources, data-matching capability, and international and domestic intelligence-sharing relationships to uncover even the most intricately planned serious financial crime. The SFCT includes the ATO, AFP, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Department of Home Affairs, including Australian Border Force (ABF), Services Australia and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP), which is prosecuting this matter.

The Phoenix Taskforce is an ATO-led, 38-member taskforce, which aims to protect public finances as well as businesses and employee entitlements by deterring and reducing illegal phoenix activity.

[29.4.21; LTN 78, 27/4/21]


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