IT workers whose tax disappeared in the Plutus Payroll case have been thrown a lifeline

A sports car seized by police during the arrests in the tax fraud case. Image: Australian Federal Police

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) says workers won’t be penalised if their tax payments went missing during the Plutus Payroll fraud case.

The ATO today issued initial guidance to help those affected by the alleged actions of the payroll services company under investigation by Australian Federal Police.

“Workers will not be penalised when the amount reported as being withheld is not actually paid to the ATO,” the tax office said in a statement.

“At tax time, the amounts withheld from their pay will be applied when their income tax liability is assessed.”

Plutus Payroll was used by a lot of IT contractors to ensure their tax and superannuation payment obligations were met. Police allege money meant to be paid to the ATO was skimmed off by a crime syndicate.

Ten people have been charged in connection with an alleged $165 million tax fraud. Among them is Adam Cranston, the son of deputy ATO commissioner Michael Cranston.

Michael Cranston, a long servicing senior executive at the ATO, was issued a court attendance notice for alleged abuse of his position as a public official. He must appear in court on June 13.

His 24-year-old daughter, Lauren, was also arrested.

Simon Anquetil, the founder of Plutus Payroll, the company at the centre of the alleged criminal conspiracy, has also been charged.

The ATO says it hopes this general advice will provide certainty to workers and employers who have used the services of Plutus.

“Employers who are concerned whether they have met their tax and super obligations can also find out what they need to do,” the ATO says.

“We understand that sometimes workers and employers are affected by circumstances outside their control and we are implementing a range of support measures to ensure that you have clarity on your circumstances.”

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