Issued: 22 March 2023
Last modified: 22 March 2023
Date of decision: 8 February 2023
A former South Australian tax agent, Nathan Williams has been sentenced to imprisonment and fined $80,000. The Federal Court found Mr Williams had knowingly broken the law by preparing and lodging income tax returns for a fee while not a registered tax practitioner.
Mr Williams first came to our attention as a registered tax agent when we found he had failed to pass tax refunds onto his clients. Mr Williams’ registration lapsed, but he continued to provide tax agent services for a fee. We issued him with a ‘cease and desist’ notice in relation to this behaviour. Mr Williams acknowledged the notice, but continued to prepare and lodge 73 income tax returns for taxpayers in his local community for a fee. He put these taxpayers at risk for his own benefit. Taxpayers should be aware that by using an unregistered preparer, you are exposing yourself to risk, and it can cost you more in the long run, including penalties imposed by the Australian Taxation Office.
Due to his continued disregard for the law, we commenced proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Mr Williams, seeking an injunction to stop him from preparing and lodging further returns for taxpayers while not registered as a tax agent. Again, this did not stop him, and he continued to provide tax agent services contrary to the law and was found in contempt of the injunction by preparing and lodging 7 income tax returns. He did this by obtaining login details of the taxpayers’ MyGov accounts and completing the returns on their behalf online. By sharing information, such as your myGov details you are putting your personal and financial affairs at risk.
In addition to the imprisonment of 10 days for contempt and $80,000 fine, the Federal Court imposed a permanent injunction restraining Mr Williams from providing tax agent services for a fee or other reward. Further, Mr Williams is unable to apply to vary or revoke this order for at least 10 years.