Serious financial crime such as tax evasion and financial market fraud costs Australians millions of dollars every year. The Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) is an ATO-led joint-agency taskforce established on July 1, 2015 to combat the most serious and complex forms of financial crime.
On its website, the ATO provides insight into the agencies that comprise the taskforce, areas of focus and key results achieved to date.
Which agencies comprise the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce?
The SFCT includes:
- Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
- Australian Federal Police (AFP).
- Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).
- Attorney-General’s Department (AGD).
- Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
- Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).
- Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs), incorporating its operational arm, the Australian Border Force (ABF).
- Services Australia.
The SFCT also supports Australia’s involvement as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5).
What areas does the SFCT focus on?
The current focus of the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce is on:
- Cybercrime affecting the tax and superannuation systems.
- Offshore tax evasion.
- Illegal phoenix activity.
- Serious financial crime relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There has been an increase in fraud activities related to COVID-19, such as criminals posing as international charities requesting donations for pandemic-related fundraising campaigns. Addressing these threats and protecting vulnerable Australians is a clear focus for the SFCT.
How is the taskforce performing?
From its commencement on July 1, 2015 until Sept. 30, 2020, the taskforce has progressed cases that have resulted in:
- Completion of 1,258 audits and reviews.
- Conviction and sentencing of 11 people.
- Raising liabilities of $972 million.
- Collecting $375 million.
Engaging in serious financial crime in Australia has become increasingly risky for criminals. The ATO-led Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) comprises multiple law enforcement and regulatory agencies including the AFP, ACIC and AUSTRAC. It aims to prevent, detect and deal with the most serious financial crimes such as tax evasion, financial market fraud, and frauds exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest reporting shows that the SFCT is delivering significant results and closing in on criminals who pose a serious financial crime threat to the Australian community.