the Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry, announced that two high-profile tax crackdowns have this past financial year raised more than $313 million in tax liabilities and penalties against tax cheats.

Project Wickenby targets a range of tax avoidance schemes, including the use of offshore tax havens.

“Phoenix” companies are those which deliberately go into liquidation to avoid tax and other responsibilities, such as superannuation payments and service leave entitlements owed to employees. They then re-emerge as another corporate entity, but with largely the same management.

During the year ended 30 June 2009:

  • Wickenby raised $230 million in tax liabilities and collected $40 million in cash. In addition Wickenby collected $159 million in tax collected in subsequent years from people who have been subject to Wickenby action.
  • Targeting of phoenix practices also raised more than $83 million in tax and penalties within Australia.

Project to date, Wickenby has raised $406 million in tax liabilities and collected $117 million in cash. In addition $235 million in tax has been collected in subsequent years from people who have been subject to Wickenby action. Wickenby agencies have also been responsible for restraining $76 million of assets under proceeds of crime legislation.

The government has allocated  $122 million extra funding for Project Wickenby investigations over the next three years.

The audit results and other key details in the fight against tax crime are contained in a new online magazine published by the ATO Targeting tax crime is available at www.ato.gov.au/targetingtaxcrime