16 July 2018

New Phoenix Hotline to protect Australian workers and small businesses


The Turnbull Government has established a new Phoenix Hotline to combat the phoenixing activity of dishonest directors and their companies, and protect Australian workers and businesses that comply with our nation's laws.

"Phoenixing hurts hardworking Australians, including the company's employees, suppliers, customers and competing businesses. It causes a significant drain on the Australian economy," the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP said.

"Last financial year the ATO sent out tax bills totalling more than $270 million from more than 340 reviews and audits of businesses involved in phoenix activity."

"The new Phoenix Hotline will make it easier to report suspected phoenix behaviour directly to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) so they can pursue those who are doing the wrong thing."

"It will enable timely action to be taken against companies and their directors, safeguarding employee entitlements like wages and superannuation, and ensuring taxes are collected for Government to provide the essential services Australians rely on."

Employees, creditors, competing businesses and the general public can confidentially provide information or report their concerns about possible phoenix behaviour by calling the Phoenix Hotline on 1800 807 875 or online at the Australian Taxation Office website. Their disclosures will be protected by privacy laws and the Government's legislative action in protecting whistleblowers.

This action builds on the work of the Turnbull Government to deter phoenixing, including the announced introduction of a director identification number, new phoenix offences, new clawback powers for ASIC, the extension of the director penalty regime, addressing corporate misuse of the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Scheme, the establishment of the Phoenix Taskforce in 2014, strong new laws to target the non-payment of superannuation entitlements, reforms that will prevent GST fraud through phoenixing in the precious metals industry and the construction sector, as well as reforms to target black economy activities.

"The Turnbull Government has shown its commitment to taking tough action against fraudulent behaviour like phoenixing. For those who try to beat the system, it's only a matter of time before the law catches up with them," Minister O'Dwyer concluded.