The ATO’s stance against phoenix activity has continued with multiple search warrants issued, and many business and residential sites accessed without notice across Victoria and Queensland, as part of a criminal investigation into unpaid superannuation, employee withholding, GST, and income tax.
'Phoenix activity' refers to a business that shuts down whilst still owing creditors, employees and the ATO lots of money, and then starts up again perhaps somewhere else or under a new name.
Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said “By showing up unannounced we’re able to access records that we might otherwise never have seen. This information is then used to take further compliance action, and shared among our partner agencies to better inform our strategies targeting the 50 highest-risk phoenix operators.”
What employees of these companies should be looking out for. Mr Cranston stated that there are a number of signs that a business someone is working for may be involved in phoenix behaviour:
“Employees may be pressured to take leave or have their employment status changed from permanent to casual. They may also notice that there are frequent changes in the identity of the company that is paying their wages, or that their superannuation entitlements are not paid."
Employees who suspect that a company they are dealing with is exhibiting any of these signs should get in touch with the ATO by reporting it online or by calling 1800 060 062 or contact us!