A Fair Work Ombudsman report put the cost of illegal phoenix activity to the Australian economy at potentially more than $3 billion annually.
Deputy commissioner Michael Cranston said the visits are part of ongoing investigations into illegal phoenix activity within the pre-insolvency industry.
“The legitimate insolvency industry has strong concerns about those who may be promoting and facilitating illegal phoenix activity. Unlike registered liquidators, these so-called ‘specialists’ operate in an unregulated environment and their behaviour undermines the whole industry,” Mr Cranston said.
“Our message for those who might be involved in or are considering a phoenix model: we will continue to take up the fight until you stop engaging in this illegal behaviour. We will pursue those who do the wrong thing and punish them to the full extent of the law.”
One hundred twenty officers from ATO and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission visited 13 business and residential sites across two states last August, after complaints from the tax profession and legitimate insolvency practitioners as well as intelligence were gathered from the 20-member cross-agency Phoenix Taskforce.
The Phoenix Taskforce comprises over 20 federal, state and territory government agencies and provides a whole-of-government approach to combating illegal phoenix activity, working together to share information and collaborate on enforcement.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.