The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has now granted a stay on two registration termination decisions by the Tax Practitioners Board on Alan Norman and A G Norman & Associates Pty Ltd.
Mr Norman is the sole director and supervising agent of the company which is the trustee of the AG Norman Family Trust.
On 30 October 2019, the TPB terminated the tax agent registrations of Mr Norman and the company after it found that Mr Norman had failed to act honestly and with integrity in a number of instances, and had failed to disclose overdue personal tax obligations.
The TPB found that Mr Norman had made inappropriate interpretations of the taxation laws on behalf of clients, which exposed them to audit, amended returns, interest and penalties.
He was also found to have amended clients’ taxation returns without their prior knowledge as well as submitted claims for deductions where there was no supporting substantiation.
An ATO audit resulted in a reduction in work-related expense claims of $1,205,274 in 2017, and a further 82 amendments resulted in a further reduction of $337,135 in work-related expenses.
With Mr Norman contesting the findings of the TPB, the AAT has now decided to stay the registration termination decision until the review is completed.
However, AAT deputy president Peter McDermott moved to impose three conditions, including notifying all clients of the stay decision, not providing any new tax agent services during the operation of the stay and ensuring compliance with all taxation obligations.
In granting a stay on the termination decision, the AAT noted that the company had some 1,317 clients that might be prematurely displaced pending on the review decision.
The AAT also considered that a stay was appropriate on hardship grounds, pointing to the four people working in the company.
“If there is no stay then the company would effectively cease to exist and any hearing of these applications would be nugatory,” Mr McDermott said.
“I have further had regard to the interests of the existing clients; however, those clients should be appropriately informed about the stay so that they can decide whether to continue to use the services of the applicants.”
Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.