Business needs to be increasingly alert for signs of illegal phoenix activity, the ATO said, as it is widespread and can be hard to detect.
The assistant commissioner for the Phoenix and Evasion Program, George Montanez warned that phoenixing could occur in any industry or location, and put other businesses at a disadvantage.
Illegal phoenix activity occurs when a new company, for little or no value, continues the business of an existing company that has been liquidated or otherwise abandoned to avoid paying debt.
Mr Montanez said the best protection against illegal phoenix activity was “knowledge defence”.
“Warning signs may include not receiving pay slips or super payments and being given suspiciously low tenders or quotes for jobs,” he said in a recent ATO Tax Invoice podcast.
“You should also keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour and make sure you do thorough background checks on who you’re going into business with.”
Mr Montanez said some of the common indicators included serial liquidations.
“They do it yearly and across a number of months. They can simply just walk away from the company and then start up a new company, and they walk away from that company leaving creditors behind,” he said.
“Sometimes they inappropriately transfer company assets so that they can’t be sold to pay for creditors or to use in a new business.”
Mr Montanez said it was hard for businesses to detect when phoenix operators are doing the wrong thing.
They would use strategies such as fake directors otherwise known as straw directors, to hide who is really in control and try to protect the main perpetrator.
“Sometimes these straw directors are quite vulnerable people that don’t know what they’re getting themselves into,” Mr Montanez said.
“And of course, there’s the non-payment or mistreatment of workers. Not paying workers compensation, unpaid wages, super and the non-payment of taxes.
“However, sometimes employees, subcontractors and suppliers find it hard to identify this while it’s happening in front of them.”
Mr Montanez said to better protect against phoenixing for employees, businesses should closely examine their payslips.
“Does it have a different company name to the one that they thought they were working for? Are they receiving a payslip? If they’re not getting a payslip, then why aren’t they getting a payslip?” he said.
”Do they frequently change the company’s ABN or directors but nothing else changes? A subcontractor or supplier might see that the company name is changing frequently.
”That means they may even continue to operate from the same premises using the same number.”
Mr Montanez said these were all those little warning signs that indicated there was an illegal phoenix operator behind those companies.
“Another indicator is really, really suspiciously low tender or quotes that sort of go lower than everybody else,” he said.
“You may get a cheaper job there, but who is getting hurt in the process? And could it be you?”
Mr Montanez said it was really important to always do extensive research on who you are doing business with or who you’re working for if you’re an employee.
Businesses could do searches on the company and its directors to see if there’s any information or news online.
“You can see if any of the directors or persons in control, because it may not be a director of a company that has been bankrupted or been associated with liquidated companies,” he said.
“Not all bankruptcies as I’ve discussed, or liquidations are necessarily illegal phoenix activity. But you’re looking for that serial or cyclical pattern.
“You can also do credit checks. And you can even ask for proof that the company has registered for tax and paid its tax obligations such as GST, PAYG, etc. If you’re an employee, make sure you’re getting payslips.”
Mr Montanez said businesses should also proactively report suspicious behaviour to the ATO.
“This intelligence can be the missing piece that helps us in an investigation,” he said.
“We get a lot of intelligence from the community. It is looked at. And I can say that we’re dealing with cases where it’s been from community referrals.”
02 May 2022
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I grew up on the family farm situated near Hamilton before completing my Advanced Diploma of Agriculture at the Melbourne University (Longerenong Campus Horsham), I then worked as a retail manager/agronomist at an agricultural outlet in the Wimmera before moving to Albury. Whilst in Albury I completed my Bachelor of Commerce at Latrobe University (Wodonga Campus) in 2012 and worked for a private accounting firm for close to five years before joining the Geelong ProAdvice team in November 2015.
At ProAdvice, I work predominantly in preparing forecast budgets and reporting on budget to actual results, as well as the preparation of financial statements and income tax returns.
Phone: 0428 286 466
I am a director of ProAdvice. I have been a management consultant since 1995, assisting clients with strategy development, implementation of improved business systems including management of risk, business analysis and facilitation of succession. I started my career at the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries as a research officer before moving to private consulting. I hold a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from University of Tasmania and I am a member of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (AIAST). I am also involved (as investor and management oversight) in 2 syndicated farming enterprises.
I enjoy travelling, running, supporting the North Melbourne Kangaroos, lazing about on the coast, and spending as much time as possible with my wife and two sons.
Phone: 0419 522 147
I specialise in providing services to farmers with an emphasis on business structures, succession and estate planning. Prior to joining ProAdvice, I was a Partner of Day Neilson Accountants and then WHK in Geelong. Before joining Day Nielson in 1991, I worked as an accountant for a number of firms based in Tasmania and the UK. I hold a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University and a Diploma in Farm Management from Glenormiston Agricultural College.
I enjoy farming, sport, collecting antiques, kayaking and bushwalking.
Phone: 0418 514 825
I have worked in the Business Advisory and Taxation Services since 1987.
Working as a Senior Manager in a major accounting firm before joining the ProAdvice team, has put me in good stead with knowledge and experience.
As a Senior Accountant holding a Bachelor of Commerce and a member of CPA Australia, I work closely with my clients to minimise their taxation obligations and assist in following through with their financial strategies.
I love living in Ocean Grove with my husband and two children. I’m a passionate St Kilda supporter and enjoy both local and AFL. During football season I also follow netball and enjoy reading.
Phone: 03 5244 8877
I am a consultant based from my home office, South of Hobart, but spend most of my time working with irrigated and dryland mixed cropping and livestock clients in South Eastern Tasmania. Prior to commencing work with ProAdvice in 2017, I worked in the agribusiness sector for 20 years with a Tasmanian based company called Serve-Ag. I was involved with various management and advisory roles within that business and bring >20 years agronomy and production experience to ProAdvice. Through my experience, I am able to create client value through providing strategic agronomy services, as well as other planning and analytical assistance.
I completed a Science Degree and a Post Graduate Diploma at the University of Adelaide initially working in the Riverland then moved to Tasmania in 1996 to further develop my career. I now live on a small property south of Hobart where I farm beef cattle and tend to an extensive garden with my partner and my three daughters. I also enjoy travel and many outdoor pursuits such as long distance trail running, rock-climbing, bushwalking and snow skiing.
I started my accounting career in 1998 and joined our team in 2007.
I completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Finance at Deakin University, before undertaking and completing the Chartered Accountants qualification through the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.
Coming from a family farm, I have seen firsthand many of the issues that our clients encounter and would like nothing more than to see our clients run successful businesses. I am responsible for the preparation of financial statements, tax returns, BAS, year end planning and management of client groups, clients accounting IT assistance, as well as in house IT . I am married with two children and work part-time allowing me to fulfil my family commitments.
Phone: 0418 122 705
I grew up in the town of Ballarat and completed my VCE at St Patricks College. I then moved to Geelong where I studied Commerce (majoring in Accounting and Finance) at Deakin University and I am now a provisional member of the CA (Chartered Accountants).
After graduating I found a Graduate Accounting job at T2 Tea in Melbourne where my role consisted of Accounts Receivable, Payable, FBT and monthly BAS reporting/lodgement.
Outside of the office I enjoy spending my time with my fiancé Jodie, travelling, playing basketball and supporting the Richmond football club.
Phone: 03 5244 8872
I joined ProAdvice in April 2019 after eight years in another local family practice. I enjoy working with clients to maintain their compliance while minimizing tax paid, but also work towards reaching their financial goals. Although I have experience in other areas of finance and compliance, my professional interests include Business & Individual tax minimisation, Self Managed Superannuation, effective structures for asset protection and Capital Gains.
I have gained a Bachelor of Business from Victoria University, CPA & IPA qualified and I am also a registered Tax Agent and hold a limited AFSL.
Having grown up on the outskirts of Geelong, I am a cats fan and also support Liverpool and Melbourne Victory in Soccer. I also enjoy walking, reading, history, crotchet and playing with my fur babies.
I joined the ProAdvice team in January 2020.
I have a Diploma in accounting, I am a BAS registered agent and I am studying/working towards becoming a CPA.
I started working in an accounts/bookkeeping role in 2014 whilst I was studying the diploma of Accounting.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my husband and our four children.
Phone: 03 5244 8882
I joined ProAdvice in August 2019 as a Bookkeeper in the Geelong office.
I worked for 3 years as an Accounting intern while studying a Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting at Latrobe University. Prior to entering the Accounting field, I worked for several years as a mechanic in Sydney and Albury predominantly working in V8supercars.
Originally from the Goulburn Valley, we moved to Geelong so we could enjoy the beach, but live far enough away that we won’t get flooded if there is a tsunami. In my spare time I enjoy running, cycling and spending time with my wife and kids.
Phone: 03 5244 8896
I am Director and Co-Owner of ProAdvice, managing the South Australian Branch located at Victor Harbor. Since 1989, my career focus has been in southern Australia working with rural clients but now extends to assisting small to medium enterprises (SMEs) as well.
My primary role with ProAdvice is supporting 25 businesses as their Client Manager. This puts me in a position of trust, whether the business consists of a farming family, a corporate business, an SME or a local small business.
I act as “Chairman of the Board’ with many clients, and this creates a forum where we can focus on the long term strategy of the business, short term plans and direction, successful succession within the business, improving business systems and assisting with change management.
It is only when people work together in teams on a common objective that a businesses true potential and true profit can be achieved. I enjoy being part of this journey with clients.
My work often involves helping to coordinate the clients’ professional adviser team, which may include their Accountant, Solicitor, Agribusiness Manager. In summary, we help people achieve their business and personal goals.
One of my most enjoyable roles is conducting training for ProAdvice’s Farm Management Courses, which I have done for the past 20 years. It is in this forum where I have assisted a large number of farming businesses throughout Southern Australia. I feel a sense of pride and personal reward when I can help clients combine the understanding of their financial picture with the complexity of managing a set of physical resources, whether they be with farming clients or SMEs.
Victor Harbor is where I live with my wife Tanya and our two sons, Matthew and Andrew. My recreational time is spent playing tennis with Victor Harbor Tennis Club (VHTC) where as President of VHTC, I have assisted our club to grow our playing numbers, improve our tennis court facilities and as a representative on our tennis association expand tennis play on Fleurieu Peninsula. In winter, I like nothing more than seeing the Adelaide Crows play each week.
Phone: 0427 186 133
I commenced work in a public practice accounting firm in 1998 before joining ProAdvice in 2007. My role has been primarily in taxation, but I have also evolved into elements of succession and estate planning. I share the desire of most clients to protect their assets whilst minimising taxation obligations.
I work closely with clients to find equitable solutions for all financial situations. I hold a Bachelor of Commerce at Deakin University, where I majored in Accounting and Management before undertaking and completing the chartered accountants qualification through the institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia.
My interest outside work are sports, particularly playing cricket in the summer and trying to keep up with two active sons
Phone: 0458 711 922
I joined the ProAdvice Launceston office in August 2021 in the position of Accountant.
I have 30+ years combined experience in public practice and a diverse range of industries. My qualifications are a Bachelor of Business degree from The University of Tasmania and Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA).
Tasmanian born, I live in the beautiful Tamar Valley on an acreage property with my family and animals.
Phone: 03 6348 3825
Bookkeeper / PA
I joined our team in January 2015, working part-time as a Personal Assistant & Bookkeeper in the Victor Harbor Office.
I bring with me 20+ years experience in office administration and bookkeeping and hold a Diploma of Accounting. I live in the Adelaide Hills with my husband on a small hobby farm and enjoy walking, tennis and caravanning.
I joined the ProAdvice team in January 2021 as an Undergraduate Accountant. I am currently completing a Bachelor of Commerce at Deakin University.
In my free time I enjoy spending time in the outdoors, gardening and photography.
Phone: 03 5244 8895
Agribusiness Support Officer
I joined ProAdvice in May 2021 as an Agribusiness Support Officer.
Since 2017 I have worked from home as an Office Manager for a small business located in Katherine in the Northern Territory.
I have over 10 years’ experience in office administration, HR, QHSE and a broad knowledge base of varying roles within the civil construction, pastoral and veterinary industries. I have a passion for animals and seem to accumulate them… My time away from work is spent with my 3 young children and we love everything outdoors: horse riding, playing sports, motorbike riding, camping and attending to our menagerie.
Phone: 03 5244 8870
Taxation Law Specialist
I joined our team in 2006 and work as an accountant and taxation adviser.
I hold a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne, and I am also a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Taxation Institute of Australia. I started my accounting career in 1968 working for one of the top four chartered accounting firms. I have had the pleasure of working for accounting firms in London.
In the past I wrote a series of booklets on GST when it was first introduced and contributed a fortnightly column in the Geelong Advertiser for twelve years. I have lectured in tax at Deakin University and have been a Past President of The Rotary Club of Geelong Central. I enjoy travelling in France, the French language and culture, cricket and other sports and my Rotary Club.
Phone: 0408 137 658
I am based in the Launceston office where I have been a member of our team since 2005. I am responsible for co-ordinating workflow of the Tasmanian based team, assisting clients with budgeting and management reporting and administration of our education and training events. I have completed a Bachelor of Business Management (Farm Management) at Marcus Oldham College.
Prior to college I spent four years working as an Executive Assistant in a Financial Planning firm. I grew up on a beef cattle property in the North West of Tasmania where I spent fourteen years showing my family’s beef cattle and assisting to manage the stud herd.
Phone: 03 6348 3822
Jarrod Lundie is the Head of the Compliance Team at ProAdvice Pty Ltd and is an experienced Accountant and Business Advisor. With over 15 years of experience in guiding clients through their business and accounting needs, Jarrod makes sure his clients are set up to have the best chance to prosper and achieve their goals.
Jarrod has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Deakin University and is both of the Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Advisor, which ensures you are receiving the best advice available for your business.
Running a successful business is only one part of the overall wealth creation process. Decisions around capital allocations either back into the business or into passive income assets external to the business are critical in determining the long term financial stability of you and your family. At ProAdvice, Jarrod and the team ensure you have up to date reporting to enable you to make the right decisions to set you up long term without distracting you from your sole role, which is running your business.
Outside of work, Jarrod spends time with his wife and two children, playing the sharemarket and supporting the Geelong Cats.
Phone: 03 5244 8868
I started with ProAdvice in 2006 and have over 25 years experience in administration and accounts management. In our team I am responsible budgets, bookkeeping and BAS. Originally from Switzerland I moved to Perth WA, where I was the Payroll Officer for Perth Racing for 11 years, before moving to Launceston in 2005.
I enjoy travelling, bush and beach walking, reading and movies.
I joined the ProAdvice team in June 2015. Prior to this I worked for several other firms in public practice.
I work closely with our clients on preparing Financial Statements and Tax Returns.
My Bachelor of Accounting and Advanced Diploma of Accounting, along with the Chartered Accountants Program places me in good stead as a Chartered Accountant. I have also completed a Masters Degree in Taxation through the University of New South Wales.
I grew up in North West Tasmania, where I still live with my busy wife and two energetic boys. I enjoy spending time with my family, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, Bush Walking, Eight-ball and keep busy as President of the North West Eight Ball Union.
I am a consultant based in Murray Bridge, South Australia, and joined the ProAdvice team in August 2021. This follows an extensive history of working with rural business clients throughout South Australia with the NAB for over 18 years.
I hold a Bachelor of Economics in Agricultural Business and have always enjoy being involved in Agribusinesses. I have experience in wine and viticulture, broadacre (sheep, cereal cropping and cattle), dairy, irrigation/horticulture, animal feedlots, piggeries and poultry. I focus on understanding each business and its needs, together with finding ways to add value and to help them succeed. This includes, but is not limited to; succession planning, business re-structure, strategic direction, business expansion, finance review, cashflow management, improving business systems and improving financial performance.
My wife and I have a farm locally, where we run a grazing operation of 450 merino ewes, we have three children who are very active in local football and netball clubs.
Phone: 0439 806 360
I have completed a Bachelor of Business (Tourism & Hospitality) in 2017 and previously have worked in varying reception & administration roles in the tourism, medical and governance fields in both Melbourne and London.
Originally from Portland and after living in both Melbourne & London I moved to Geelong with my partner in 2021 to be back close to the beach.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with family & friends, travelling, keeping active and watching sport, particularly AFL.
Phone: 03 5244 8866
I have been involved in Agricultural Consulting since 1992. During this time I have held many key roles pertinent to the Agricultural industry including Director of Farm Management at Marcus Oldham College and National Landcare Facilitator.
I have completed a Diploma Farm Management (Hons), Bachelor of Business (Agriculture) and a Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning. I joined the ProAdvice team in 2011 and work closely with family businesses providing them with leadership and guidance.
I enjoy fishing, cricket, gardening and learning German.
Phone: 0417 357 728
I joined the ProAdvice accounting team in April 2019. My considerable public practice experience spans a period of more than 15 years. I hold a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree from James Cook University and am also CPA qualified. Additionally, I am also a registered tax agent.
My partner Melinda and I moved from the Sunshine Coast in March 2019 for the cooler Tasmanian climate and to experience a more relaxed way of life. We live on a property in Lilydale, just outside Launceston.
Phone: 03 6348 3829
I Joined the ProAdvice team in August 2018, working in reception and administration support.
I bring with me 20 plus years’ experience in office administration, reception and customer service.
I am originally from England and spent the first seventeen years of my life there, and emigrated to Australia in 1985, where I have lived in Geelong the entire time.
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my husband and three teenage children. Travelling and reading is also a passion of mine.
Phone: 03 5244 8862
I joined the ProAdvice team in October 2018 and work closely with our clients on preparing Tax Returns and Financial Statements.
I received my Bachelor Degree in Business Administration with honors from Florida Atlantic University before moving to Australia. I completed my Chartered Tax Adviser qualification from The Tax Institute while working in the business advisory and compliance division of a public accounting firm in regional Victoria.
Out of the office I enjoy my veggie garden and my fur babies. I do lots of handicrafts including quilting, stained glass and leather work.
Phone: 03 6348 3827
Assistant Accountant/ BAS Preparer
Phone: 03 6348 3824
I hold a Diploma in Farm Management from Marcus Oldham, a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University and are a CPA.
I joined the team in 2006 and have worked in Business Advisory and Taxation Services since 1989. Before becoming an accountant, I spent 8 years working on cropping and grazing properties in WA. I have specialised in self managed superannuation to complement my practical experience in the primary production sector.
My community mindedness has seen me act as a loaned executive to United Way and have acted as treasurer of the Hope Bereavement Services Inc for 15 years.
I live in Geelong with my wife and daughter and enjoy supporting the West Coast Eagles in the AFL, cycling and gardening.
Phone: 0448 522 325
I am a long term client of ProAdvice and joined the team as an Associate in 2008.
My wife and I have farmed at Keith SA for 24 years, producing lucerne seed, lamb and wool. The synergies created between ProAdvice, my practical management experience and my consulting role bring significant value to the businesses I own and work with.
After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture (1987) I have remained committed to lifelong learning, completing various professional and personal development courses within and beyond the ProAdvice network. I am a current member of Ag Institute Australia.
I value the opportunity to work with clients throughout Central and South East SA and Western Victoria, providing the strategic business management support and coaching that each family requires.
Beyond farming and consulting, I enjoy time with my wife and three children, tennis, reading, umpiring junior footy and supporting the Adelaide Crows.
Phone: 0419 862 510
I grew up in the coastal town of Wonthaggi. After completing my VCE I relocated to Melbourne to study my Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in accounting. I commenced my professional accounting career in 2015 where I worked at accounting firms in the suburbs of Melbourne before joining the team at ProAdvice in June 2021. During this time, I also completed my Certified Practicing Accountants (CPA) qualification.
I enjoy building relationships with my clients and learning about their businesses so that I can help with their accounting and taxation requirements, and business or personal goals. I look forward to developing these relationships and using my knowledge and experience to help clients of ProAdvice.
Outside of work I love spending time with family and friends, I enjoy coastal living and being at the beach, and I am a passionate golfing tragic.
Marketing & Administration
I joined ProAdvice in 2021 in a Marketing & Administration role following 7 years working within the real estate industry. I thrive off building strong long-term relationships with clients to help them achieve their goals.
I have lived in Tasmania all my life and love everything it has to offer. I enjoy spending my free time with my partner and daughter making memories with our family and friends.
Phone: 03 6348 3823
I joined ProAdvice in April 2019 as part of the SMSF Accounting team.
I have lived in Geelong all of my life and completed VCE at Sacred Heart College and currently in my final year of study at Deakin University.
Previously I have worked at a small accounting firm whilst completing my studies so I have gained a lot of practical experience in the Accounting field.
Outside of work I enjoy playing netball and spending time with Family & Friends.
I have been a member of our team since 2008 and work as an accountant in the Geelong office. I specialise in the area of accounting and tax for self managed superannuation funds. I started my accounting career in 1989 and in that time have worked at two local public accounting firms, working primarily in business and taxation services. I have a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University and I am a qualified CPA. I have also completed my SMSF Specialist Qualification through the University of NSW.
I live in Grovedale, married and have two young children, with whom I love to spend time with. I enjoy supporting my children in their sporting interests, socialising with family and friends and am a very devoted Geelong Cats fan.
Phone: 03 5244 8873