Finance Your Super More than 1200 early super withdrawals referred to serious crimes taskforce
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More than 1200 early super withdrawals referred to serious crimes taskforce

A small number of early super withdrawals were referred to the police, the tax office has said. Photo: TND
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More than 1200 applications to the Coalition’s early super access scheme have been referred to the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce, according to the tax office.

And up to 6 per cent of total applications may have been ineligible.

Giving evidence before the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 on Thursday morning, ATO second commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn said the tax office had received about 8000 suspicious matter reports related to the scheme.

Mr Hirschhorn said the ATO had ruled out fraud in 6700 of those cases, but had referred 1200 cases to the Serious Financial Crimes Taskforce.

“Of the 1200 we have referred to the Serious Financial Crimes Task Force, they have commenced six operations,” he said.

“And that covers a significant percentage of the 1200 [referred cases], because a single operation might cover a particular attack, which might have attacked multiple superannuation funds.”

Mr Hirschhorn was at pains to point out, however, that the overall level of fraud across the scheme was extremely low.

The tax office estimates about 0.05 per cent of total withdrawals – or a “little bit” more than 1700 – were fraudulent, with the most concerning cases involving an attempt to access someone else’s money.

Mr Hirschhorn also said the tax office had “high confidence” that 94 per cent of applications met the scheme’s eligible criteria – which revolved around financial hardship – noting that some of the ATO’s research suggested this figure could be as high as 96 or 98 per cent.

According to the tax office, more than 3 million Australians participated in the early super access scheme during its eight-month duration.

The tax office processed about $20 billion worth of withdrawals in the first round of the scheme and $18 billion in the second round of the scheme.

About 950,000 people only made claims in the first round of the scheme, while 600,000 people only made claims in the second, and about 1.5 million made claims in both.

The New Daily is owned by Industry Super Holdings