Issued: 23 January 2023
Last modified: 23 January 2023
Peter-John Collins, a former tax partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has been deregistered as a tax agent for integrity breaches by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). Mr Collins’ deregistration includes a 2-year ban on becoming a registered tax practitioner.
The TPB conducted an investigation into Mr Collins’ conduct. The investigation revealed Mr Collins, while a partner of PwC, was part of a confidential consultation by Treasury in a confidential consultation to improve tax laws. This included new rules to stop multinationals avoiding tax by shifting profits from Australia to tax and secrecy havens. Mr Collins made unauthorised disclosures of this confidential law reform information to partners and staff of PwC.
The TPB found Mr Collins failed to act with integrity, as required under his professional, ethical, and legal obligations, and terminated his tax agent registration.
In addition, the TPB investigation determined that PwC had failed to properly manage conflicts of interest, when this confidential law reform information was shared with partners and staff in their tax practice. PwC breached its obligations under the law and the Code of Professional Conduct. The TPB ordered PwC to have processes and training in place to ensure conflicts of interest are adequately managed.
TPB Chair, Ian Klug AM, said ‘We are very concerned when tax practitioners abuse their positions of trust, or fail to act with integrity. Many Australians and most businesses entrust their tax practitioner with sensitive personal, financial and tax information. Tax practitioners who breach this confidence will not be tolerated. Rules to manage conflicts of interest are equally important in protecting client interests, especially in a large firm with multiple clients and many staff.’
‘Some tax practitioners are involved in confidential law reform discussions, to share their wisdom and experience and to support the public interest’, Mr Klug noted. 'Leaking confidential information in these circumstances might be seen to elevate personal and commercial profit, breaching public interest, legal and ethical obligations.’
Mr Klug went on to say ‘Tax practitioners have a privileged position, helping clients to engage with the tax and superannuation systems. The TPB will not tolerate those practitioners who act without integrity.’
If you know of a tax practitioner who is acting without integrity, the TPB encourages you to make a complaint using their online form.
About the Tax Practitioners Board
The TPB regulates tax practitioners in order to protect consumers. The TPB aims to assure the community that tax practitioners meet appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.