Since 2012 Australia’s black economy has grown 100% to $50 billion per year. This dwarfs the growth in Australia’s legal economy over that period of 20%.
The black economy refers to people who operate entirely outside the tax and regulatory system or who are known to the authorities but do not correctly report their tax obligations. This includes the understatement of takings, the payment and acceptance of cash wages off the books, welfare fraud, sharing economy contractors not declaring their income, moonlighting and phoenixing (where businesses deliberately liquidate to avoid paying employees and creditors).
The black economy is an endemic cultural problem in Australia. It is growing as many Australian taxpayers see it as a ‘victimless crime’ and believe ‘everyone is doing it’. These views are incorrect, but nevertheless widely held in the community.