Tax Agents' registration restricted by the AAT
In separate cases, two tax agents have had their registrations restricted by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) following the Tax Practitioners Board’s (TPB) findings that they had breached the legislated Code of Professional Conduct (Code) which applies to all registered tax practitioners.
In modifying the sanctions imposed by the TPB, the AAT in one instance has restrained the tax agent from having any involvement in the preparation and lodgement of certain Self-Managed Super Fund returns and statements until the tax agent undertakes and satisfactorily completes remedial education courses approved by the TPB.
In the second case, the tax agents registration was restricted such that for three years the tax agent is not to offer any form of fee from refund service to their clients and is not to be involved in any activity as part of their tax agent practice that includes the receipt of money belonging to their clients.
Following the AAT decisions, both tax agents will continue to be under rigorous compliance monitoring by the TPB to ensure that no further breaches of the Code will occur.
The TPB notes that during both AAT proceedings, new information was presented to the AAT which was unavailable to the TPB at the time it made its decisions. As each case will be assessed on its particular facts, tax practitioners are encouraged to provide all relevant information to the TPB as early as possible to avoid heavy sanctions and any unnecessary litigation.
Acting Chair of the TPB Greg Lewis has confirmed that ‘a practitioner’s circumstances may explain how unprofessional conduct came to occur, but it does not change the character of that conduct. Where there has been repeated misconduct, the TPB must act to protect the public and to maintain the integrity and trust in the profession’.
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.