17 February 2023

ATO raids put fraudsters on notice

The Albanese Government welcomes the swift action of the ATO-led Serious Financial Crimes Taskforce (SFCT) to tackle the biggest GST fraud in Australia’s history, Operation Protego.

The law enforcement activity undertaken across the country this week is significant as it saw warrants executed in three states against 10 individuals suspected of promoting the fraud, including on social media.

Operation Protego, a major operation begun by the SFCT in early 2022, is tackling widespread GST fraud.

Offenders invent fake businesses and lodge false Australian business number (ABN) applications, then attempt to submit fictitious Business Activity Statements to gain a dishonest GST refund.

The SFCT have advised that Operation Protego has entered the compliance phase, with more charges expected to be laid over coming months.