28 September 2017

Consultation on reforms to address illegal phoenixing

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP, today released for public consultation a paper entitled ‘Combatting Illegal Phoenixing’.

This consultation is a key step in the Government’s delivery of a comprehensive package of reforms to address illegal phoenixing.

The consultation paper seeks views on proposed reforms to the corporations and tax laws to deter and disrupt the core behaviours of phoenix operators, while minimising any unintended impacts on legitimate businesses and honest restructuring. The proposed changes will assist regulators to better target action against those who repeatedly misuse corporate structures and enable them to take stronger action against those entities and individuals.

“The Government is committed to helping the honest and diligent entrepreneurs who drive Australia’s productivity, but we won’t tolerate those who misuse the corporate framework for their own advantage,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

These reforms will complement other Government action we have already taken, including:

  • instituting the Phoenix, Black Economy and Serious Financial Crime Taskforces;
  • strengthening disciplinary rules for insolvency practitioners;
  • legislating to improve information sharing between key regulatory agencies;
  • reviewing and enhancing ASIC’s powers and enforcement tools;
  • consulting on law reform initiatives to curb the excessive drain on the taxpayer funded Fair Entitlement Guarantee scheme, which covers employees’ entitlements left outstanding as a result of failed business enterprises;
  • improving the collection of GST on new residential premises and residential subdivision transactions from 1 July 2018.
  • phasing in near real time reporting by employers of payroll and superannuation information to the ATO through the single touch payroll reporting framework, giving the ATO improved visibility over employers’ compliance with their tax obligations including the superannuation guarantee;
  • consulting on a register of beneficial ownership for companies, to be made available to key regulators for enforcement purposes; and
  • developing and improving legislation to encourage and protect whistleblowers.

Stakeholders are invited to comment on the consultation paper by lodging a submission online via the Treasury website. Submissions close on 27 October 2017.