AAT affirms TPB decision to reject tax agent’s renewal application
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has affirmed the decision of the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) to reject the application for renewal of the tax agent registration of Mr Philip Ham, of Brisbane, on the grounds he is not a ‘fit and proper person’.
Mr Ham had been registered as an individual tax agent since June 1989.
The TPB was not satisfied that Mr Ham was a fit and proper person given his conduct as the sole director of Canehire Pty Ltd (as trustee), including being knowingly concerned in breaches of fiduciary duty and trust by Canehire, and acting dishonestly in paying away proceeds of sale that lawfully belonged to beneficiaries of a trust.
The Supreme Court of Queensland had previously made these findings regarding Mr Ham’s conduct in an unrelated proceeding, and the conduct was also the subject of subsequent disciplinary action by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) in 2015.
The AAT determined that Mr Ham’s conduct, over an extended period of time, was ‘inconsistent with the qualities of moral soundness, uprightness and honesty that one would expect of a tax agent'.
The AAT considered that Mr Ham’s failure to disclose the Supreme Court judgment and the CAANZ decision to the TPB also weighed against his character.
Chair of the TPB, Mr Ian Taylor, said that in determining whether a tax practitioner is a fit and proper person, the TPB can examine the practitioner’s previous conduct.
‘The TPB may terminate the registration of a tax practitioner if the TPB is satisfied that a tax practitioner no longer meets the ‘fit and proper person’ requirement for registration,’ Mr Taylor said.
‘The TPB may consider actions or omissions that occurred prior to the commencement of the Board in March 2010 to the extent that the behaviour is relevant to the tax practitioner’s present fitness and propriety.’
Mr Ham has now lodged an appeal with the Federal Court.
About the Tax Practitioners Board:
The Tax Practitioners Board 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.