Tax Agent

Issued: 9 October 2020

Last modified: 9 October 2020

Date of decision: 18 August 2020

A company tax agent was found to have insufficient supervisory arrangements and review processes which led to unauthorised lodgements of amended income tax returns of five taxpayers. 

The company agent amended and lodged 2019 and/or 2018 income tax returns of these taxpayers without their authorisation between March 2020 and April 2020. Further, the company included its trust account details in these amended returns, without authority, thereby directing tax refunds to be paid into the company’s bank account. 

Our investigations revealed that these amended returns were prepared by an unregistered and unsupervised individual in the company practice. This individual was registered as a BAS agent in 2011 but his registration was terminated by the Board in 2013 for failing to meet the requirements of being a fit and proper person. 

The Board Conduct Committee (BCC) found that the company failed to act honestly and with integrity by amending and lodging income tax returns for five individuals without authorisation or consent.

The BCC also determined the company failed to have adequate structures, processes, supervisory and review arrangements to ensure it provided competent tax agent services and properly verified the accuracy of information and documents received from taxpayers. 

In addition to the Code of Professional Conduct breaches, the BCC found the former and current directors of the company were not fit and proper.

  • The former director and sole supervising tax agent of the company (who was responsible for the company’s conduct during the relevant period) failed to undertake due diligence and supervision of the unregistered individual. This failure resulted in the unauthorised lodgements. 

  • The current director was also deemed not fit and proper due to his conduct providing tax agent services on behalf of the company which resulted in the unauthorised lodgements.

During the investigation, it was also noted that the sole supervising tax agent had failed to renew his registration in May 2020. 

The BCC terminated the company’s tax agent registration as it failed to meet the company registration requirements that:

  • the company had a sufficient number of registered individual tax agents to provide tax agent services to a competent standard and to carry out supervisory arrangements

  • each director of the company is a fit and proper person.