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About complaints

About complaints

You can make a complaint to us about:

  • tax agents, BAS agents or tax (financial) advisers (collectively known as 'tax practitioners) whether they are registered or not
  • the decisions we make or our actions and processes.

Complaints about tax practitioners

We consider all complaints we receive and determine whether we can act on them.

Sometimes the nature of a dispute means it is not appropriate for us to act on it. This may include matters about services provided by a tax practitioner that are not considered a tax agent, BAS or tax (financial) advice service or where there is no relevant Code of Professional Conduct (Code) issue present. Some grievances are also best dealt with by another body, such as the police.

The following are some types of complaints that we may not be able to act on:

Fee disputes

We cannot always help to resolve a fee dispute with a registered practitioner. These disputes are often commercial matters that you should try to resolve according to the terms of agreement you have with your tax practitioner.

If your complaint relates to a fee dispute only, please contact Consumer Affairs or the Office of Fair Trading in your State or Territory. However, if there is a fee-related matter that is clearly connected to the Code, we may be able to assist.

Non-return of documents

In some instances,  a tax practitioner may exercise a 'right of lien' over documents. This means they may hold certain documents until the contract you have with them is finalised, such as by fees being paid.

For more information refer to Claiming a lien over a client property TPB(I) 02/2011.

Penalties imposed by the ATO

We cannot order a tax practitioner to pay any penalties, interest or charges imposed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on a client of that practitioner.

The ATO administers 'safe harbour' provisions set out in the Taxation Administration Act 1953. Under the safe harbour provisions, taxpayers using a registered tax or BAS agent may not be liable to some administrative penalties imposed by the ATO in certain circumstances.

For more information refer to Safe harbour.

Making a complaint about a tax practitioner

Complaints should be lodged using our online complaints form. This ensures we have sufficient information to act on your concerns. Each complaint is different. Some can be resolved quickly, others require more time, especially when further information is needed or the matter is complicated.

We strive to be fair in our processes by giving all parties an opportunity to provide their claims and/or an explanation.

When we finalise your complaint, we will provide you with as much information about the outcome of your complaint as we legally can.

For further information refer to Make a complaint.

Complaints about the Tax Practitioners Board

If you are not satisfied with the way we have handled a complaint or about any of our actions, decisions, services or processes, you can give us feedback or make a complaint.

For further information refer to Make a complaint.

Last modified: 8 September 2015