‘Reprehensible conduct’ – tax agents banned to protect the public
A Queensland tax agent has been stripped of their registration after committing a string of serious breaches against the regulator’s legislated Code of Professional Conduct, including claiming bogus tax deductions for clients resulting in underpaid tax.
Caren Moroney, an individual tax agent, and her associated company, CJM Accounting Pty Ltd (CJM Accounting), failed their clients, failed in their own tax compliance, and failed to cooperate with the connected ATO audit.
Clients of these tax agents were provided wrong tax advice, over-claiming tax deductions without appropriate evidence. Around 20 clients experienced ATO audits and adjustments to their income tax returns.
Ms Moroney and CJM Accounting also failed to comply with their own tax obligations, especially in dealing with GST and pay as you go withholding.
The regulator, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), responded to investigate and sanction these tax agents. TPB Chair, Ian Klug AM, confirmed the tax profession had no room for those who act unethically or dishonestly.
‘This case had some of the worst features of abuse of trust, including failing to provide refunds to clients, and failure to cooperate with the related ATO audit. The Board banned the tax agents and supported the community by excluding them from reapplying for registration for five years, the maximum period under the law,’ Mr Klug said.
The majority of Australians and businesses are supported by professional, registered tax practitioners to access government services and to support their tax and superannuation compliance. TPB survey results confirm high levels of community trust in tax and BAS agents, acting honestly and ethically, with support at 89%.
‘Community confidence in tax practitioners and the system is particularly important as we prepare for tax time. The TPB will support honest taxpayers and practitioners, investigating serious misconduct, and dealing with those who abuse their clients or fail their own tax obligations,’ Mr Klug continued.
‘I encourage taxpayers to ensure their tax or BAS agent is registered with the TPB. I also thank those members of the community and the profession who let us know where they suspect misconduct. Complaints can be lodged anonymously, and every matter is taken seriously – submit a complaint.’
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. Follow us on Twitter_@TPB_gov_au, LinkedIn and Facebook.