Officers from the ATO have visited sites linked to labour hire agencies supplying workers in the fruit industry in Queensland as it looks to tackle illegal phoenix activity, tax evasion and the operation of the black economy.
According to the Tax Office, businesses engaging in illegal phoenix activity cyclically create and liquidate companies in order to avoid paying taxes, creditors and employee entitlements.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Justin Untersteiner said labour hire businesses are a major focus for the agency because black economy behaviour is particularly prevalent in the industry.
“The ATO follows up on all sources of intelligence and takes complaints and tip-offs seriously. 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,” Mr Untersteiner said.
The ATO-led Phoenix Taskforce will work closely with partner agencies including Queensland Labour Hire Licensing and AUSTRAC’s Fintel Alliance to identify, manage and monitor suspected illegal phoenix operators.