Help for taxpayers impacted by fake tax agent
The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) is contacting thousands of West Australian taxpayers to offer assistance after they used the services of Jessa Van Stroe (also known as Jessa Layola), who was illegally preparing tax returns. An order to stop preparing and lodging income tax returns for payment, as she is not and never has been registered with the TPB, was issued to Ms Van Stroe by the Federal Court on 23 August 2021.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) said anyone who has used her services should urgently review their income tax returns and ensure that the details provided to the ATO are correct and substantiated. This can be done by logging into your MyGov account or by contacting the ATO on 13 28 61.
If you need help reviewing your tax return it is recommended that you seek independent advice from a registered tax agent.
Professor Dale Pinto, Head of the Taxation Discipline in the Curtin Law School, said ‘It is important for anyone who has used the services of unregistered preparers, like Ms Van Stroe, to review their tax returns. Unregistered preparers do not have the necessary skills or expertise to provide tax advice and by using her services these taxpayers have no protection against penalties which could be applied for mistakes Ms Van Stroe may have made.’
The TPB is working closely with Curtin University’s Curtin Tax Clinic (CTC), who are offering free tax advice to people impacted by Ms Van Stroe. Anyone who has used her services that needs help understanding their tax affairs can contact CTC by phone on (08) 9266 2575 or email at curtintaxclinic [at] curtin.edu.au.
Co-Founders of CTC, Annette Morgan and Donovan Castelyn, said ‘CTC is happy to provide free assistance in situations like this as it aims to assist unrepresented taxpayers in meeting or complying with their tax affairs. In return the experiential learning opportunities for students who work under the supervision of experienced tax practitioners in these situations are most valuable’.
Only tax agents registered with the TPB can legally charge a fee to lodge income tax returns – find a registered tax agent using 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.