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Your tax files could be caught up in a new crackdown

By Grace Ormsby · July 17 2019
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Michael O’Neill
Your tax files could be caught up in a new crackdown

Your tax files could be caught up in a new crackdown

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By Grace Ormsby · July 17 2019
Reading:
egg
Michael O’Neill

Individuals should take extra care when choosing a tax agent this tax time, with more than 350 practitioners currently under investigation for risky behaviours that could affect their clients.

With a new financial year upon us, the Tax Practitioners Board has revealed that it is currently undertaking the investigations due to suspicions of high-risk behaviour.

High-risk behaviours have been listed by the board as including a failure to meet personal tax obligations, over-claiming work-related expenses on behalf of clients, egregious conduct considered “black economy behaviour”, non-lodgement of annual declarations and non-compliance with continuing professional education requirements.

According to the Tax Practitioners Board, a number of the cases were a result of referrals from the Tax Office, which reportedly continues to work closely with the board.

The board’s CEO, Michael O’Neill, said they have handed down some heavy sanctions already.

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One tax agent had his registration terminated for five years for failing to disclose approximately $1 million in tax debt and overdue lodgement for more than 30 companies while another received the same penalty for fraudulent lodging of income tax returns for several clients.

Another five-year registration termination penalty was given to a tax agent for being unable to provide evidence of professional indemnity coverage since 2017.

“Of eight cases investigated under the debt and lodgement project, five tax practitioners had their registrations terminated for failure to meet personal tax obligations, four of these with a five-year exclusion period,” he noted.

“And of the eight investigations into non-compliance with CPE requirements, five tax practitioners were issued with suspensions, three with cautions and all eight ordered to complete additional hours of CPE,” the CEO continued.

A further six tax agents have also recently been suspended for three months for the failure to lodge their annual declarations, Mr O’Neill said.

With the role of the organisation being to regulate tax practitioners in order to protect consumers, the board aims to assure the community that tax practitioners meet appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct.

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