The Tax Practitioners Board has terminated the registration of The Associates Vic Pty Ltd, trading as Brown Baldwin and Associates, and imposed the maximum five-year ban.
Brown Baldwin and Associates’ directors — Andrew Locantro, Biren Shah and Rajinder Narula — have also been disqualified for the maximum period after they were found to be responsible for the misconduct of BBA.
A six-month-long investigation by the TPB found that Brown Baldwin and Associates had knowingly obstructed the proper administration of the taxation laws by assisting some of its clients to set up or transfer companies for the purpose of avoiding payment of debts including taxation liabilities.
Brown Baldwin and Associates was also found to have maintained two sets of different financial accounts — one set for bank purposes and another for taxation purposes resulting in the provision of misleading information to either the Commissioner of Taxation or finance companies for the purposes of either a favourable taxation assessment or credit assessment.
The company had also failed to meet its outstanding taxation obligations on several occasions, and did not have adequate supervision, review and control arrangements in place to ensure that its staff had the requisite skills, experience and diligence to provide tax agent services competently.
In banning the three directors, the TPB did not accept that any one director was unaware of the conduct under the circumstances.
“Brown Baldwin and Associates has consistently and flagrantly ignored the standards required to be a tax practitioner,” said TPB chair Ian Klug.
“As a result of our investigation, we concluded that the public could have no confidence that either the company or its directors will perform the functions of a registered tax agent either competently or with integrity.
“Where tax practitioners deliberately choose to jeopardise the high levels of trust that the community, and the law, expects of the industry, we will act with the harshest possible penalties.”
Jotham Lian is the 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.