Powered by momentummedia
nestegg logo
nestegg logo

Save

ATO cracks down on $850m GST fake business fraud

  • May 06 2022
  • Share

Save

ATO cracks down on $850m GST fake business fraud

By Paul Hemsley
May 06 2022

A nationwide crackdown on incidents of fraud involving the creation of fake businesses to scam GST refunds from the federal government has led to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) firmly warning Australians not to engage with these shady businesses.

ATO cracks down on $850m GST fake business fraud

ATO cracks down on $850m GST fake business fraud

author image
  • May 06 2022
  • Share

A nationwide crackdown on incidents of fraud involving the creation of fake businesses to scam GST refunds from the federal government has led to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) firmly warning Australians not to engage with these shady businesses.

ATO cracks down on $850m GST fake business fraud

The ATO claims that $850 million is being spruiked on social media, and has launched Operation Protego, which is probing potentially fraudulent payments made to about 40,000 Australians who have each claimed on average around $20,000.

According to the ATO, the scam involved offenders setting up sham businesses and ABN applications, then submitting bogus Business Activity Statements to receive a false GST refund.

The ATO said it’s presently working with banks, the Reserve Bank (RBA) and an AUSTRAC-led collaboration between law enforcement and financial industry bodies to crack down on the organised scam.

Advertisement
Advertisement

ATO deputy commissioner and chief of the serious financial crime taskforce, Will Day, said that information on how to attempt the fraud is being shared online including via social media platforms.

“We are working with social media platforms to help remove content promoting this fraud, but if you see something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is” Mr Day said.

He warned that the people who have participated in this fraud are “not anonymous”.

“We know who they are, and we will be taking action."

He urged anyone involved to “face the music” and come forward now rather than face even tougher consequences later, including penalties and criminal charges.

“Unfortunately, as we take action to protect revenue, some legitimate taxpayers may find they have to take extra steps to receive their legitimate refunds as we have put extra controls in place as a result of this fraud. But we must emphasise that the fraudsters are not real or legitimate small businesses” Mr Day said.

“People who have participated in this fraud may have unwittingly followed advice they have read online, claiming to help access a loan from the ATO, or receive other financial government support such as a disaster payment."

“However, for others, there was nothing accidental or unintentional about setting up a fake business in their own name and seeking an unearned refund."

“Circumstances where there were deliberate attempts to defraud the ATO or a refusal to organise repayments will lead to tougher actions including criminal action.”

ATO cracks down on $850m GST fake business fraud
ATO cracks down on $850m GST fake business fraud
nestegg logo

Forward this article to a friend. Follow us on Linkedin. Join us on Facebook. Find us on Twitter for the latest updates
Rate the article

more on this topic

more on this topic

More articles

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.