Five face possible tax evasion charges and 40,000 are under investigation

The Australian Taxation Office carried out more raids this week as part of a ‘zero tolerance’ crackdown on GST tax evasion.

Five suspected Sydney fraudsters could now face charges, and another 40,000 people are being investigated on suspicion of fabricating bogus companies to claim bogus refunds.

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The ATO launched raids this week with the support of the Australian Federal Police, building on last month’s effort which targeted 19 people suspected of involvement in GST fraud.

The nationwide crackdown is part of a major investigation by the ATO-led Serious Financial Crimes Task Force prosecuting individuals “suspected of inventing bogus businesses to claim bogus refunds”, the chief of staff said on Friday. the SFCT, Will Day.

This week’s raids have targeted five people based in Sydney, after the ATO last week warned Australians at fault to ‘come forward or face serious consequences’.

Last month, at least six arrests were made in Victoria in connection with fraud.

Now Day, who is also an ATO deputy commissioner, has another warning for scammers: “If you think you won’t get caught, think again… there’s nowhere to go. to hide.”

“Your name could be next on our list, and you could face serious consequences, including jail time.”

A further 40,000 people are currently under investigation on suspicion of being involved in major GST fraud.

Suspected fraudsters have been arrested and another 40,000 people are being investigated for inventing bogus companies to claim bogus refunds. Credit: ATO

Warrants have already been executed in places in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.

AFP’s Economic and Corporate Crime and Corruption Commander, Christopher Woods, said: “Every dollar obtained fraudulently represents lost funds which could have been used to benefit ordinary Australians in our community.”

The average amount claimed fraudulently is around $20,000.

GST fraud involves fabricating bogus businesses and Australian Business Number (ABN) applications, and submitting fictitious business activity statements in an effort to obtain a bogus GST refund.

The ATO launched Operation Protego in May and has since prevented “more than $1 billion in fraudulent claims” from being issued.

Social media platforms have played “a key role in promoting this type of GST fraud,” according to Day, who added that the task force has information-sharing agreements in place and is working with social media platforms.

“We have also had reports of people offering to buy and sell myGov details in order to access these refunds,” he said.

SFCT has shared details of around 29,000 people suspected of committing Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission fraud.

Millions of Australians could be reimbursed for unwanted insurance.

Millions of Australians could be reimbursed for unwanted insurance.

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