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$32,000 Penalty For Unregistered Tax Agent

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

$32,000 Penalty For Unregistered Tax Agent

The Federal Court of Australia has ordered registered BAS agent, Benjamin Hinckfuss to pay a $32,000 penalty for unlawfully advertising and providing tax agent services for a fee.

Mr Hinckfuss, from Chapel Hill in Brisbane, was not registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) as a tax agent. However, from July 2010 to August 2012, he advertised and provided services which included preparing and lodging tax returns and amendment requests.

The majority of Mr Hinckfuss’s clients were members of a Samoan community in Brisbane. Some clients were penalised by the Australian Taxation Office for incorrect information in submissions prepared by Mr Hinckfuss. Mr Hinckfuss advertised his tax agent services to this community through his place of employment and at a local church.

Ian Taylor, Chair of the TPB, said "The penalty ordered by the Federal Court sends a strong message to people disregarding the law. This case shows that even though you may be a registered BAS agent, you should not be providing tax agent services, like preparing tax returns, for a fee if you are not registered to provide these services."

Mr Taylor added, "If people are going to engage someone to prepare and lodge tax returns and amendments, they should check first that the agent is registered with the Board to provide those services, at www.tpb.gov.au"

Anyone can make a complaint to the TPB if they feel a tax agent is not providing services to an appropriate standard, or if the person or entity they are dealing with is not registered.

Further information about the Tax Practitioners Board

The TPB regulates tax practitioners to protect consumers. The TPB aims to assure the community that tax practitioners meet appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct. 

Visit www.tpb.gov.au for more information on the TPB.