Issued: 19 March 2024

Last modified: 8 April 2024

TOC (auto-generated)


At the heart of your services to clients is the trust they have in your integrity, ethics and professionalism. This has been challenged recently, with ongoing scrutiny of integrity standards, in Parliament and in the community. Join us as we focus on ethics and how practising ethical decision making can help maintain a compliant, honest, transparent and client-focussed experience. Help us build confidence in the tax system and demonstrate the values of responsibility, respect, fairness and honesty. During this webinar you will see how ethical practice can assist you in meeting your obligations and help support quality advice outcomes and processes.


Webinar presentation slides

Webinar hyperlinks

Webinar recording

Ethics webinar recording

Questions and answers

We have compiled some of the questions we received during our webinar.


The Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA) does not define ethics, so we look to the ordinary meaning. The Macquarie Dictionary defines ethics by linking it to the concept of morality: A system of moral principles, by which human actions and proposals may be judged good or bad or right or wrong.

Ethics are the rules or standards which govern conduct, and by which a person is or can be judged and held to account. Those standards can be set down by professional bodies in their regulatory codes or practitioner registration requirements, or they can be established (and judged) by the wider community.


Broadly, it can be said that the Code of Professional Conduct (Code) sets out the ethical standards that are required of tax practitioners. However, ethics is a broad concept and there may be circumstances relating to a person's fitness and propriety for instance that informs the question of whether a tax practitioner is behaving ethically or not.


No, there is currently no requirement under our policy to complete ethics training.

Reporting unlawful behaviour

Tax practitioners are required to act with honesty and integrity under the TASA. A tax practitioner who has made false statements about another tax practitioner may be in breach of their obligations under the Code and face sanctions.


If you suspect or are aware of illegal phoenix activity, you should report it to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). More information is available on their website


New breach reporting obligations have been announced in the Treasury Laws Amendment (2023 Measures No.1) Act 2023. These obligations apply from 1 July 2024 and there are 2 types of breach reporting obligations:

  • Self-reporting: a registered tax practitioner must notify the TPB in writing if they have reasonable grounds to believe that they have breached the Code and that breach is a significant breach.
  • Another tax practitioner: if a registered tax practitioner has reasonable grounds to believe that another tax practitioner has breached the Code and the breach is a significant breach, they must notify the TPB and the recognised professional association of the other practitioner (if applicable) in writing.

Failing to comply with these requirements may result in sanctions being imposed and may also raise questions as to whether the tax practitioner continues to meet the fit and proper registration requirement. We will be publishing guidance on the breach reporting obligations in due course, which will cover the consequences for non-compliance.


We understand that there are some industry concerns about the new breach reporting obligations, which includes a requirement to report significant breaches by other tax practitioners. We will be issuing guidance on the new obligations in due course and aim to address some of these concerns in this guidance, including how we propose to deal with malicious complaints.


You should explain to your client their rights and obligations under the relevant taxation laws. You should also warn the client about the severe penalties the ATO may impose on them for fraudulent claims.

Despite your advice, if the client is insistent on making the claims, you should decline to act for them.

Conflicts of interest

This scenario may involve a potential conflict of interest. The Code does not prohibit you from having conflicts of interest. However, you must have adequate arrangements in place to manage any conflicts of interest that may arise relating to the activities that you undertake as a registered tax practitioner (Code item 5). For more information about conflicts of interest, and the obligation imposed by this Code item, please refer to our Information Sheet.


Yes, a tax practitioner may provide services to a client without charging a fee.

Events affecting registration

There are certain events that may affect a tax practitioner’s continued registration, including a criminal conviction. Registered tax practitioners are required to report this to us within 30 days of the event. We may terminate a tax practitioner’s registration if we are satisfied they no longer meet the fit and proper person requirement. The severity and circumstances of the case will be taken into consideration before making a decision.