According to the TPB, an ATO audit into the tax agent company’s lodgments saw the Tax Office make adjustments to 15 clients, with a tax shortfall of $101,653, penalties of $20,576, and an average adjustment to assessable income of $17,669 for each client.
An investigation by the board found the company had breached the Code of Professional Conduct including failing to comply with the taxation laws in the conduct of its personal affairs; and ensuring a tax agent service it provided, or was provided on its behalf, was provided competently.
It was also found to have failed to maintain knowledge and skills relevant to the tax agent services provided by its sole director and supervising agent; and take reasonable care in ascertaining a client’s state of affairs and to ensure the taxation laws were applied correctly.
It was also found the company had disclosed information relating to their clients’ affairs without their permission or a legal duty to do so.
Apart from the 12 month suspension, the TPB has ordered the company and its sole director to bring all lodgments up to date; pay its outstanding liabilities in full or enter into a payment arrangement with the ATO, and complete and pass a course in relation to the code.
The TPB’s compliance work for the 2017-18 period resulted in a total number of 287 sanctions, including 24 terminations, up from 17 last year.
According to the TPB’s annual report, the sanctions included 81 impositions of order and 182 written cautions.
“The annual report… confirms the TPB’s firm action against non-compliance with the Tax Agent Services Act 2009, Code of Professional Conduct and breaches of the civil penalty provisions,” said TPB chair Ian Taylor last year.
The TPB have also received a $20 million funding boost, announced in the federal budget last year, aimed at ensuring the board enforces “appropriate professional and ethical standards”.