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BAS agent penalised $40,000 for tax activities

Thursday, December 13, 2012

BAS agent penalised $40,000 for tax activities

A registered BAS agent had a $40,000 penalty imposed on her. She charged and received a fee for completing and lodging individual tax returns while not being registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) as a tax agent.

The Federal Court of Australia ordered Queensland woman, Isabella Munro, who admitted to 14 contraventions of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 to pay the penalty.

From July 2010 to August 2011 Ms Munro was paid for providing advice on individual tax returns and completing and lodging returns but she was not registered with the TPB as a tax agent. Her actions included making claims for tax deductions without the taxpayers’ consent.

After an audit by the Taxation Office of individual tax returns lodged by Ms Munro for the 2010 tax year, one taxpayer received a $7,740 penalty for reckless preparation of his tax return for over-claiming a deduction. Ms Munro acknowledged that she made this error herself.

The Court heard that in July 2011 Ms Munro had pleaded guilty in the Magistrates Court of Queensland to 16 offences of charging or receiving a fee for preparing tax returns while unregistered.

Dale Boucher, Chair of the Tax Practitioners Board, said the penalty ordered by the Federal Court sent a strong message to people contravening 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. Those who provide tax agent services for a fee while not registered, will be caught and have to pay for their actions.’

‘The TPB is focussed on protecting the taxpayer community. When we identify a serious breach of the law, it is our duty to do everything in our power to ensure it stops.’ Mr Boucher said.

If people are going to pay fees for a tax agent or BAS service, including preparing and lodging tax returns, they should check first that their agent is registered.

Anyone can make a complaint to the TPB if they feel tax agent or BAS services are not being provided to an appropriate standard, or if the agent is not registered.

Contact: Email TPBCommunications [at] ato.gov.au (TPB Communications) or phone 02 6216 4916