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Tax Office reveals early super fraud numbers


The ATO has released estimates around the rates of fraud through the early release of super scheme, while a taskforce has launched six operations into potential violations.

By Sarah Simpkins 8 minute read

As revealed by Jeremy Hirschhorn, second commissioner for client engagement at the ATO, the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce has estimated the attempted fraud rate on early super applications came to 0.05 of a percentage point. 

Meanwhile, APRA has placed a figure of around 1,700 fraud attempts, around 0.04 of a percentage point

“Now we wouldn’t expect those numbers to be exactly the same, because some we head off before they go to the funds,” Mr Hirschhorn told the Senate select committee on COVID-19 on Thursday.

“But I think that gives pretty good confidence that it’s around that level of fraud in the scheme, which is, again, around 1,700.”

The ATO had received 8,000 suspicious matter reports from the funds. Of that total, 6,700 were deemed to be false alarms or not fraud. 

Stemming from that number, the Tax Office referred 1,200 cases to the Serious Financial Crimes Taskforce, a joint effort between the ATO, Australian Federal Police, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and various bodies.

The taskforce has since launched six operations to cover the 1,200 cases, with each investigation covering a particular attack, which may have affected multiple accounts.

Around 100 cases are still being assessed by the ATO. 

The Tax Office had also investigated “ordinary compliance”, determining whether applicants were indeed eligible and facing financial hardship. Its estimate is that overall compliance in regard to eligibility is that 96 to 98 per cent of the population.

In total, a little more than 3 million people had participated in the scheme, with 1.5 million claiming funds during both rounds.

Australians tapped into $38 billion in total. 

During the first round, the ATO approved withdrawal requests for $20 billion and then processed claims for $18 billion during the second round. 

The Tax Office has also signalled it will soon release a summary report on the early super scheme.

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