Inter-Agency Phoenix Taskforce
The Phoenix Taskforce has been established by the Inter-Agency Phoenix Forum to assist in the detection and deterrence of fraudulent phoenix behaviour.
A number of key government agencies are working together to reduce and deter fraudulent phoenix behaviour through the Inter-Agency Phoenix Forum and the Phoenix Taskforce. The Phoenix Taskforce allows agencies to share data more easily and will help identify phoenix behaviour.
Fraudulent phoenix activity is where a company deliberately avoids tax, superannuation or employee entitlement liabilities by liquidating an indebted company and then carrying on the same or similar business with the same ownership, via another entity.
Fraudulent phoenix activity is detrimental to the community: employees and contractors do not receive superannuation and other entitlements, suppliers may not be paid, government loses revenue and businesses gain an unfair advantage and often avoid regulatory obligations. The Phoenix Taskforce is developing and using sophisticated data-matching tools to identify, manage and monitor suspected fraudulent phoenix operators, as well as working with industry to identify unscrupulous operators and keep the system fair for businesses and employees.
There are serious consequences for people who promote or intentionally participate in fraudulent phoenix activity including criminal convictions, custodial sentences and hefty fines.
Phoenix Taskforce members:
- Australian Crime Commission
- Australian Federal Police
- Australian Securities Investment Commission
- Australian Taxation Office (including the Australian Business Register)
- Clean Energy Regulator
- Department of Employment
- Department of the Environment
- Department of Immigration
- Fair Work Building and Construction
- Fair Work Ombudsman
- ACT Revenue Office
- NSW Office of State Revenue
- Northern Territory Treasury
- Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority
- QLD Office of State Revenue
- Revenue South Australia
- Tasmanian State Revenue Office
- Victorian State Revenue Office
- WA Office of State Revenue
Each agency has an individual role to play when it comes to detecting and deterring fraudulent phoenix behaviour.
How is the Department of Employment addressing fraudulent phoenix behaviour?
The Department of Employment administers the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG). FEG is a safety net scheme to provide assistance for certain employee entitlements after employees lose their job due to bankruptcy or liquidation of their employer. The information collected through the claim assessment process can provide useful intelligence about the corporate activities of employing entities.
The Fair Entitlements Guarantee Act 2012 provides the Department of Employment with statutory authority to share information collected in the claim assessment process with other Australian Government agencies. Where potential breaches of the law are identified during the FEG claim assessment process, the Department also refers such conduct to regulatory agencies.
Want to know more?
- Information on the Phoenix Taskforce and how to report suspected fraudulent activity is available from the Australian Tax Office.
- Information on how to make a complaint with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is available on the report misconduct section of the ASIC website.