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ATO visits businesses in Queensland suspected of engaging in illegal phoenix activity

ATO visits businesses in Queensland suspected of engaging in illegal phoenix activity

As part of its efforts to protect honest businesses from unfair competition, the ATO has visited sites linked to labour hire agencies in Queensland.

  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • September 06, 2019
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Officers from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) have visited sites linked to labour hire agencies supplying workers in the fruit industry in Queensland as part of the ATO’s efforts to protect honest businesses from unfair competition.

ATO assistant commissioner Justin Untersteiner said labour hire businesses are a focus of the government’s efforts to deter and disrupt illegal phoenix behaviour and black economy operators.

“The ATO follows up on all sources of intelligence and takes complaints and tip-offs seriously,” Mr Untersteiner said.

“The ATO seeks to protect and affirm the contribution of the majority of honest businesses within agricultural supply chains, while ensuring that workers who we believe are being exploited, receive their correct entitlements.

“Our action demonstrates the ATO’s commitment to protecting honest businesses, their employees and suppliers.”

Businesses engaging in illegal phoenix activity cyclically create and liquidate companies in order to avoid paying taxes, creditors and employee entitlements. While illegal phoenix activity can occur in any industry or location, the ATO revealed it is prevalent in the labour hire sector.

“Through the ATO-led Phoenix Taskforce we work closely with partner agencies including Queensland Labour Hire Licensing and AUSTRAC’s Fintel Alliance to identify, manage and monitor suspected illegal phoenix operators,” the Tax Office added.

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