Media Release

12 August 2013

$30,000 penalty for unregistered agent

The Federal Court of Australia ordered Mark Shanahan from Kiama NSW, to pay a penalty of $30,000 for breaches of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009. Mr Shanahan had prepared and lodged 49 income tax returns and Business Activity Statements (BAS) for a fee, when he was not a registered tax or BAS agent.

Mr Shanahan represented himself to clients on 20 occasions as a registered agent when this was untrue. He also lodged income tax returns for his clients using the tax agent number of a registered tax agent, without that agent's knowledge. In considering the penalty imposed on Mr Shanahan, the Court found that the contraventions in which he engaged in were deliberate and involved him consciously misusing a registered tax agent's tax portal without the agent's knowledge, in order to get around his own personal situation of not being a registered tax or BAS agent.

Ian Taylor, Chair of the TPB, said "One of our key priorities is to protect the community from the actions of people like Mr Shanahan. We encourage consumers to use services provided by registered tax and BAS agents. Registered agents are bound by a Code of Professional Conduct and must meet standards of ethical and professional behaviour."

Mr Taylor also stated "If people are going to pay fees for a tax agent or BAS service, including preparing and lodging tax returns, they should check first that their agent is registered at www.tpb.gov.au/onlineregister"

Anyone can make a complaint to the TPB if they feel tax agent or BAS services are not provided to an appropriate professional or ethical standard, or if the agent is not registered.

Further information about the Tax Practitioners Board

The Tax Practitioners Board regulates tax practitioners to protect consumers. The TPB aims to assure the community that tax practitioners meet appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct. 

Contact:  TPB Communications on 02 621 64916