Members of an ATO taskforce and the AFP have raided properties across Australia as part of an operation to crack down on fake businesses set up to scam tax refunds.
The ATO-led Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) executed warrants last week against 19 people suspected of GST fraud across NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, and Queensland.
In a joint statement with the AFP, the ATO said it had stopped more than a billion dollars in attempted fraud.
“This is a clear warning to individuals considering participating – you will not be successful, you are not anonymous, and you will face the consequences of your attempts,” ATO Deputy Commissioner and SFCT Chief Will Day said.
The raids, conducted over June 15, 16 and 17, follow the arrests earlier this month of six people in Victoria in connection to the fraud.
The fraud involves offenders inventing fake businesses and Australian Business Number (ABN) applications, many in their own names, then submitting fictitious Business Activity Statements in an attempt to get a GST refund. In some cases, people have been encouraged to hand over their personal details to facilitators.
Commander Economic, Corporate Crime and Corruption, Christopher Woods, said the AFP takes the exploitation of Australia’s tax system very seriously.
“The AFP is committed to combatting financial crimes and we will continue to work diligently with our partners in the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce to disrupt and dismantle criminals seeking to cheat the tax system,” he said.
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