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Misconduct results in termination of tax agent registration

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Misconduct results in termination of tax agent registration

The Federal Court of Australia declared that Mr Cheng Cheng Li, of Sydney, NSW, breached the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 by recklessly making statements to the Commissioner of Taxation that were false, incorrect or misleading.

Between August and September 2011, Mr Li, a registered tax agent prepared and lodged 90 individual income tax returns based on information he received from two people representing themselves as personnel from a recruitment agency.

Mr Li did not have any dealings with the individual taxpayers, and did not seek any declarations from them stating that the information provided to him was true and correct. He did not take any steps to verify any of the information supplied to him, even though he had access to the tax agent portal to check payment summaries and taxpayer information.

The TPB terminated Mr Li’s registration in August 2013 and banned him from reapplying for registration for three years.

The Court took into consideration Mr Li’s personal circumstances, including the fact that he had lost his livelihood, and did not impose a pecuniary penalty. The Court did make an order requiring Mr Li to pay the TPB’s costs of the proceeding.

Ian Taylor, Chair of the TPB said, “It is the responsibility of all registered tax practitioners to take reasonable care to ensure the information provided by their client is accurate. They need to ask questions, consider the answers, and form a professional judgment. There are serious consequences for registered agents who breach the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 and the Code of Professional Conduct.”

The TPB takes seriously any conduct that calls into question an agent’s integrity and competence. The public are encouraged to make a complaint to the TPB if they feel a registered tax practitioner is not providing services to an appropriate standard, or if they are aware that a person is providing a tax agent or BAS service for a fee whilst unregistered. Complaints can be made at at the TPB make a complaint online form.

ENDS

Further information 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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