The country’s biggest tax dodgers have finally been exposed, along with some of their sneakiest tricks.
Thousands of Aussies have been dobbed in for dodgy tax-related behaviour with those in the building and construction sector topping the list.
Aussies across the country made a total of 43,000 tip-offs to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in the 2022 financial year, with businesses, customers, employees and members of the public picking up the phone to report alleged offenders.
Hairdressing and beauty services came in second on the list, followed by cafes and restaurants, road freight transport, and management advice and related consulting services.
Over 13,400 calls were made to the ATO in NSW, followed closely by Victoria, 11,500, and Queensland, 9,200.
While Sydneysiders were the main culprits, Aussies in regional locations were also exposing their local alleged crooks. The Sunshine Coast Hinterland and Cairns in Queensland, Wellington in Sydney and Wodonga and the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria made the top five regional locations for tip offs – almost 7,000 calls coming from people outside of major cities.
Examples of dodgy dealings included businesses demanding cash from customers or offering a discount for cash, paying workers ‘cash in hand’, not declaring all sales, failing to provide pay slips to workers, or even running illegal software that modifies sales transactions.
The ATO is currently using intelligence from tip-offs to address the ‘shadow economy’, which is estimated to be scrapping $11 billion off the top of our taxes each year.
The assistant commissioner, however, said it was not only businesses the ATO was investigating. The ATO know that many customers also demand to pay in cash and ask for discounts to avoid paying tax, and we also know that many workers are demanding cash especially where there is a shortage of labour.
More than ninety per cent of tip-offs received were deemed worthy of further investigation or were retained for intelligence purposes.
The ATO confirmed it has also received a number of tip-offs as part of Operation Protego, which is investigating significant fraud involving participants inventing fake businesses to claim false refunds.