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ATO rejects claims of paying JobKeeper to prisoners and the dead

Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores
01 February 2021 1 minute readShare

The Australian Taxation Office has refuted allegations that JobKeeper payments have been made to fictitious employees, dead people and prisoners.

In an update on its website, the ATO addressed media reports of fraudulent JobKeeper payments, saying that the 6,000 red-flagged cases under investigation relate to all attempted claims stopped for investigation prior to payment.

Further, the regulator said there have been very few attempted claims for fictitious employees.


“The ATO is not aware of any ultimately successful claim for deceased or other fictitious employees,” it said.

The ATO said JobKeeper has been supported by a comprehensive and effective compliance program.


“Not only does this involve checking the ABN of every business and the tax file number of each and every employee claimed, the ATO also has red-flag checks to stop claims for fictitious employees including deceased, jailed and those overseas, and also fictitious employing businesses,” it said.

“This is over and above the use of Single Touch Payroll and other data sources.

“Where claims including fictitious employees are identified, no JobKeeper payments are or have been made.”

The ATO also pointed to review findings from the Australian National Audit Office, which found:



  • The ATO has been effective in managing risks related to the rapid implementation of COVID-19 economic response measures.
  • The ATO undertook appropriate planning to support the rapid implementation of the six economic response measures — predominantly using its existing systems and processes to support governance, resourcing and consultation.
  • The ATO’s risk documentation evidences its priority of implementing the measures in a timely manner, while also managing fraud and other integrity risks on a progressive basis.

“The effectiveness of the ATO’s approach to implementing JobKeeper and managing fraud was recently confirmed by the Australian National Audit Office,” it said.

“These findings reflect the dedication of the thousands of employees across the ATO involved in delivering the government’s stimulus package.”

ATO rejects claims of paying JobKeeper to prisoners and the dead
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Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores is the deputy editor of MyBusiness. Before that, he was the deputy editor for SMSF Adviser as well as features editor for ifa (Independent Financial Adviser), InvestorDaily, Risk Adviser, Fintech Business and Adviser Innovation.

You can email Adrian at [email protected].

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