Tax Agent

Issued: 18 May 2023

Last modified: 18 May 2023

Date of decision: 19 April 2023

After receiving a referral from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), we launched an investigation into the conduct of a tax agent. The ATO supported our investigation by providing information and evidence in response to our formal requests. The Board Conduct Committee (BCC) noted the findings from the ATO’s compliance action. This resulted in the termination of the agent’s registration after we discovered they breached multiple items of the Code of Professional Conduct (Code), including: 

  • Code item 2 when they failed to lodge multiple income tax returns (ITRs) and business activity statements on time for themselves and companies which they were the sole director of

  • Code item 7 when they failed to make the necessary enquiries to establish proof of identity and proof of record ownership of a client. They prepared and lodged a company’s ITR without the proper authority of the company’s director. They also prepared and lodged several client ITRs which included inaccurate deductions. The inclusion of these deductions resulted in clients receiving a Research and Development (R&D) tax offset they weren’t entitled to. The ATO uncovered this through extensive audits and information gathering activities on several clients, which resulted in significant tax shortfalls and penalties

  • Code item 8 when they provided services in relation to the R&D tax incentive even though they hadn’t completed any training on this and weren’t qualified to give advice

  • Code item 9 when they failed to take reasonable care in ascertaining the identity of a company’s director before lodging an amended ITR or confirming the individuals that provided the authority were actually allowed to do so. This resulted in the agent lodging an unauthorised amended ITR.

In deciding the appropriate sanctions to impose on the agent, the BCC considered the seriousness and repeated nature of the agent’s conduct. The BCC terminated the tax agent’s registration.