Yvonne Anderson and Associates Pty Ltd, and its sole director and controlling mind, Yvonne Anderson, began being monitored by the ATO in 2018 after it was concerned that some of her clients had claimed work-related expense deductions which were unusually high.
The ATO’s subsequent audit of 25 income tax returns ultimately reduced the deductions by over $135,000 and resulted in penalties totalling $53,000 being imposed on some clients.
Yvonne Anderson and Associates, who had been the trustee of the Anderson Family Trust, was also found to have lodged one income tax return and six BAS late between 2017 and 2019.
The Tax Practitioners Board moved to terminate Ms Anderson’s and Yvonne Anderson and Associates’ registration on the basis that they had failed to take reasonable care in the provision of tax agent services and that Ms Anderson was not a fit and proper person.
In her defence, Ms Anderson said she had previously relied on the honesty of the information her clients provided to her, and sought to blame another tax agent that she had employed during a period of serious illness.
However, she eventually acknowledged that her ignorance of relevant taxation laws led to a number of erroneous claims, including claiming the cost of obtaining or renewing a passport, claiming the cost of repairs of a watch or the cost of prescription glasses, and claiming private conventional clothing such as Ralph Lauren polo shirts.
She told the tribunal that she had now undertaken further education and training, and had put in place “more checks and balances” in the wake of the ATO monitoring.
The AAT, however, was not persuaded that Ms Anderson had obtained a better understanding of the law, with member Dominique Grigg noting the lack of evidence of measures undertaken by Ms Anderson.
“Ms Anderson was the responsible agent for the majority of the clients’ problematic ITRs and acknowledged that she had no excuse. There was a lack of reasonable care taken by the applicants in providing tax agent services to the clients and a failure to ensure that the relevant tax laws were complied with,” Ms Grigg said.
“Taxpayers have a right to expect that the advice they are receiving from the tax agents they engage is competent and that they are not being led into danger of breaching their tax obligations by claiming deductions which cannot be maintained.
“Ms Anderson’s technical knowledge prior to the termination of her registration clearly fell far below what is necessary and expected and justifies a finding that she was not fit and proper at that time.”
The termination will also see Ms Anderson banned from applying for registration until June 2021.
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.