Former tax agent Nathan Williams is currently before the Federal Court after being found to have continued to operate by lodging tax returns on behalf of clients by using their myGov accounts.
Information provided by the ATO alleges that Mr Williams would ask his clients for their myGov password and access code before accessing their account to lodge their tax return.
The Federal Court has since issued an interim injunction in the proceedings, preventing Mr Williams from lodging any further tax returns, while facing the risk of imprisonment if he breaches the terms of the order.
Mr Williams’ case comes after he saw his tax agent registration torn up in 2018 after the TPB found that he had failed to deal with client monies appropriately by transferring clients’ tax refunds to a personal bank account.
His case also attracted the attention of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, with the professional body suspending his membership after it found that Mr Williams had failed to hold a Certificate of Public Practice while providing services as a public accountant.
TPB chair Ian Klug said the regulator would continue its crackdown on unregistered preparers this tax time after receiving over 200 complaints last year.
“The case of Nathan Williams highlights the issue that dealing with an unregistered preparer this tax time can cost you thousands of dollars in bills and penalties and can put your personal and financial information at risk,” Mr Klug said.
“We know that taxpayers place a lot of trust in tax agents, but we’d warn people to remember the adage that sugar and salt can look the same.
“Just because someone offers to deliver a large tax refund or has been recommended to you by a friend or colleague doesn’t mean that the person will deliver a competent and legal service.
“If anyone asks for your myGov details, it should raise an immediate red flag.”
The TPB has had success in prosecuting unregistered preparers in the courts, with 72-year-old Kent Scott Hacker recently sentenced to seven and a half months in jail and fined $640,000 for repeatedly providing tax and BAS agent services despite being unregistered.
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.