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Federal Court dismisses tax agents’ appeal against AAT decisions

Federal Court dismisses tax agents’ appeal against AAT decisions

The Federal Court of Australia has dismissed an appeal by tax agents Mr Hemanshu Juneja, and his associated corporate entity, Three Wickets Pty Ltd, after the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) affirmed the decisions of the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) to terminate their respective tax agent registrations.

Mr Juneja was also the sole director of Cudmores Integrated Business Solutions Pty Ltd (Cudmores), which has since ceased to exist as a company.

In 2014, the TPB decided to terminate Mr Juneja’s tax agent registration on the basis that he had ceased to be a fit and proper person due to his failures, as sole director of Cudmores, to ensure that it lodged tax returns and business activity statements by the relevant due dates, and pay its tax liabilities as and when they fell due.

The TPB subsequently terminated the tax agent registration of Three Wickets on the basis that Mr Juneja, as its sole director, had ceased to be a fit and proper person.

Following the AAT’s decision, Mr Juneja and Three Wickets appealed to the Federal Court, raising various grounds of appeal, and seeking to rely on further evidence.

In dismissing the appeal on 10 August 2017, the Federal Court has confirmed that a sole director of a company is responsible for ensuring that the company meets its tax obligations. 

Chair of the TPB, Mr Ian Taylor, reminded tax practitioners that satisfying the fit and proper person requirement is an ongoing registration requirement under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA) for individuals, and that companies must ensure that all their directors meet this requirement regardless of whether they are individually registered with the TPB.

‘Tax practitioners need to understand that there are serious consequences for failing to meet the fit and proper person requirements,’ Mr Taylor said.

‘This applies to all individual tax practitioners, and each individual partner and director in respect of partnership and company registrations.’

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.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017