Hany Mina, the sole director and controlling mind of Logic Accountants & Tax Professionals Pty Ltd, first came under ATO scrutiny in 2011 before he was referred on to the Tax Practitioners Board in 2019 for investigation.
He had repeatedly failed to pay tax debts, resulting in several garnishee notices having to be issued by the ATO to recover the money from his bank.
Logic Accountants lodged 75 of its own BAS late between 2010 and 2019, while Mr Mina failed to lodge his 27 BAS by their due dates between 2010 and 2018.
Mr Mina was also found to have claimed incorrect and excessive work-related expenses on behalf of clients, with an ATO audit revealing that the claims were 98.3 per cent greater than tax agents with similar numbers of clients and complexity in their tax affairs.
In 2009, 625 of his 646 clients audited by the ATO required adjustments to be made to their tax returns due to incorrectly made spouse offset amendments and work-related expenses.
He also failed to ensure that Logic Accountants complied with employee superannuation guarantee obligations and PAYG withholding obligations.
In his defence, Mr Mina told the Administrative Appeals Tribunal that there were “an extraordinary constellation of personal factors” that led to his indiscretions, including the breakdown of his marriage, concerns over his children’s health, the death of his father, and his declining mental and physical health.
However, AAT member Dominique Grigg found that despite Mr Mina’s assertions, there was no correlation between his personal circumstances and his conduct, including how he was able to prepare and lodge clients’ tax returns and BAS on time over the years.
Ms Grigg also found that Mr Mina still failed to understand the required nexus for work-related expense claims or the need to substantiate the claims.
“Mr Mina said he has no control over whether a client has lied and had no power to verify a client’s instructions,” Ms Grigg said.
“Mr Mina rejected the notion that it was tax agent error. Mr Mina, even now, takes no responsibility for the incorrect ITRs (income tax returns) he lodged on his clients’ behalf.”
In affirming the TPB’s decision to deregister and ban Mr Mina for two years, Ms Grigg noted that compliance with personal tax obligations was a fundamental priority for tax agents.
“While such an infraction may seem minor for a lay person, more is expected of a registered tax agent,” Ms Grigg said.
“What if every taxpayer decided a little bit late was alright or that it was acceptable to wait for the ATO to send reminders and letters of demand? What a drain that would be on the ATO’s resources and the Australian economy.
“The tribunal finds Mr Mina’s downplaying of the importance of complying with due dates in relation to his personal tax obligations alarming, disrespectful of the Australian public, and cavalier.”
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.