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Unregistered preparers strategy

Unregistered preparers strategy

The Tax Practitioners Board’s (TPB) compliance strategy protects consumers of tax practitioner services and provides strong support for responsible tax practitioners. We take the risk posed by unregistered preparers seriously and are continuing to build focus on these unethical preparers. Our commitment to deterring this conduct ensures these preparers are stopped from acting unlawfully and putting consumers at risk. 

We will continue to investigate these matters and deliver specific and general deterrence. In the highest risk cases, we apply to the Federal Court of Australia for injunctions and civil penalties.
 

What is an unregistered preparer?

Risks of using an unregistered preparer

How do I make sure my tax practitioner is registered?

Our approach to unregistered preparers

Our success in preventing unregistered preparers

Case study


What is an unregistered preparer?

Anyone providing tax agent services or BAS services for a fee or other reward must be registered with us before providing these services. An unregistered preparer offers these services illegally because they are unregistered. They are often unqualified and poorly trained. Many are simply scammers.

By using an unregistered preparer, you are exposing yourself to risk. Unregistered preparers often try to convince potential clients that they can obtain unrealistically large tax refunds. But if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
 

Risks of using an unregistered preparer

  • Using an unregistered preparer can cost clients thousands of dollars in tax bills and penalties.
  • Unregistered preparers will not have appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover to compensate you if you suffer a loss due to any act, error or omission.
  • You are not covered by safe harbour provisions that offer protection against penalties from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) when an unregistered preparer fails to lodge on time or makes a false or misleading statement on your return.
  • Unregistered preparers often ask for your personal myGov password to lodge your returns. If you share this information, you are at risk of identity theft.


How do I make sure my tax practitioner is registered? 

Check the TPB Register or look for the Registered tax practitioner symbol to ensure your tax practitioner is registered.


Our approach to unregistered preparers

Our compliance approach includes:

  • the use of data analytics to conduct risk profiling
  • investigations to authenticate our intelligence
  • compliance actions based on the nature of the misconduct  
  • a targeted approach to dealing with unregistered preparers
  • strong collaboration with co-regulators.


Our success in preventing unregistered preparers

Civil penalties imposed

Fines for unregistered preparers can be steep. The Federal Court has imposed civil penalties on the following entities.

Unregistered preparer Civil penalties imposed Date imposed Link to court decision
Kent Scott Hacker $106,875 18 December 2020 Tax Practitioners Board v Hacker
One Stop Global Staffing Pty Ltd $65,625
Naleview Pty Ltd $455,625
Arlene Caolboy $40,000 29 October 2020 Tax Practitioners Board v Caolboy
Lamede Group Proprietary Limited $77,500 2 June 2016 Tax Practitioners Board v Lamede Group Proprietary Limited
Lorraine Gale Amede $4,000
HP Kolya Pty Ltd $750,000 14 May 2015 Tax Practitioners Board v HP Kolya Pty Ltd
Peter Kolya $150,000
Tsu Chien Su $70,000 10 July 2014 Tax Practitioners Board v Su
Zada Dedic $43,000 20 May 2014 Tax Practitioners Board v Dedic
Benjamin Charles Hinckfuss $32,000 12 November 2013 Tax Practitioners Board v Hinckfuss
Mark Anthony Shanahan $30,000 19 July 2013 Tax Practitioners Board v Shanahan
Isabella Munro $40,000 28 November 2012 Tax Practitioners Board v Munro
Malcolm Ernest Campbell $64,500 24 August 2012 Tax Practitioners Board v Campbell
Avril Hogan $30,000 10 May 2012 Tax Practitioners Board v Hogan


Injunctions

The Federal Court has stopped the following unregistered preparers from providing tax agent services while unregistered.
 

Unregistered preparer Injunction
Franibelle Saludo Ordiales Interim injunction imposed on 18 July 2022
Jessa Van Stroe (also known as Jessa Layola) Permanent injunction imposed on 3 May 2022
Nathan Williams Interim injunction imposed on 18 June 2021
Kent Scott Hacker Permanent injunction imposed on 18 December 2020
One Stop Global Staffing Pty Ltd
Naleview Pty Ltd
Arlene Caolboy

Injunction imposed on 30 October 2020. The injunction ends on 30 October 2023.


Contempt of court

The TPB takes an injunction by the Federal Court very seriously. Where we identify that an unregistered preparer is providing tax agent or BAS services in violation of an injunction, we will bring the contempt to the court’s attention. The Federal Court has imposed penalties for contempt of court on the following entities.

Unregistered preparer Contempt penalty
Kent Scott Hacker and One Stop Global Staffing Pty Ltd

Mr Hacker was sentenced to a period of imprisonment on 18 December 2020 and again on 10 August 2021. One Stop Global Staffing Pty Ltd was ordered to pay a $15,000 fine on 18 December 2021 and a $5,000 fine on 10 August 2021.


Case study

This case demonstrates how we use proactive methods and data-driven technologies to find unregistered preparers – they’re not going undetected.

Ms Jessa Van Stroe (also known as Jessa Layola) was preparing and lodging income tax returns even though she wasn’t a registered tax agent with us. We found evidence from taxpayers that indicated Ms Van Stroe illegally charged clients fees to lodge returns on their behalf. By doing this, she put taxpayers at risk for her own benefit and exposed them to penalties and unpaid taxes which they would be accountable for and must repay.

In August 2021 we applied to the Federal Court for an order against Ms Van Stroe. The Court ordered her to stop preparing and lodging income tax returns and offering these services or she would face fines, imprisonment, and even seizure of property for contempt of court. 

We also contacted thousands of West Australian taxpayers to offer assistance after they used the services of Ms Van Stroe. Clients of unregistered preparers are often vulnerable members of the community, and to best assist them in this case, we worked closely with Curtin University’s Curtin Tax Clinic, who offered free tax advice to people impacted by Ms Van Stroe. 

We also worked closely with the ATO to ensure that anyone who used the services of Ms Van Stroe urgently reviewed their income tax returns and ensured the details provided to the ATO were correct and substantiated. 

If you know anyone engaging in similar behaviours, we encourage you to make a complaint.
 

Last modified: 27 July 2022