Federal Court stops unregistered tax preparer
On 23 August 2021, following an application from the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), Justice McKerracher of the Federal Court ordered Jessa Van Stroe (also known as Jessa Layola) to stop preparing and lodging income tax returns while not a registered tax agent with the TPB.
The TPB provided evidence from a number of taxpayers that indicated Ms Van Stroe illegally charged clients fees to lodge returns on their behalf. If Ms Van Stroe does not stop providing these services, she may face fines, imprisonment, and even seizure of property for contempt of court. The proceeding against Ms Van Stroe continues, and this order will remain in place until the TPB’s application for penalties is heard.
TPB Chair, Mr Ian Klug AM, said ‘Ms Van Stroe’s behaviour is reprehensible. She has put taxpayers at risk for her own benefit by exposing them to penalties and unpaid taxes which they would be liable to repay.’
‘The TPB will continue to focus on unregistered preparers who undermine confidence in the services and reputation of the tax profession. These preparers will be targeted and stopped from acting unlawfully. This behaviour will not be tolerated and the TPB will work with partner agencies to pursue criminal prosecution of unregistered preparers where there’s a suspicion of fraud.’
‘I want to emphasise that the TPB will use proactive methods and data-driven technologies to find unregistered preparers. They will not go undetected.’
Taxpayers seeking professional tax advice should engage a tax practitioner registered with the TPB by checking the TPB register.
About the Tax Practitioners Board
The TPB 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.