The Australia Taxation Office recently commenced public examinations in the Federal Court, in relation to a group of entities connected to pre-insolvency advisor Philip Whiteman. The examinations will review the suspected promotion and facilitation of phoenix activities and tax schemes.

ATO Deputy Commissioner Will Day has revealed that the examination will investigate over 45 service providers, clients and employees of these advisors and alleged ‘dummy directors’ of phoenix companies. In doing so, it has appointed Pitcher Partners as liquidators, who will investigate the affairs and conduct of the entities before further legal action is pursued.

The ATO has taken a strong stance on illegal phoenix activity in recent times, asserting that it “deprives employees of their hard-earned wages and superannuation entitlements, unfairly disadvantages honest businesses by undercutting prices and leaves suppliers with unpaid debts.”

The activity is estimated to cost businesses, employees and the government $5.13 billion per year, and so the ATO is committed to “detecting those who promote and facilitate illegal phoenix behaviour, and disrupting those who willingly engage in phoenixing.”