The stats suggest that the tax tribulations of the pandemic drove more businesses and consumers to rely on Australia’s Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).
According to the latest report by the regulator, the challenges of the last 12 months only brought tax practitioners and taxpayers closer together.
“As Australia and the world continued to grapple with the ongoing implications of the coronavirus pandemic, we also continued to ensure that tax practitioners were enabled to provide quality and ethical taxation services while maintaining the high levels of trust placed in them by their clients, the Australian public,” TPB chair Ian Klug said.
Over the past 12 months, the TPB said that it reviewed 170 cases of potential misconduct. Seventy-five of these investigations resulted in the termination of a practitioner’s registration.
He noted that annual TPB register searches exceeded 2 million for the first time in the 2020–2021 financial year.
In addition to these queries, TPB staff answered around 20,000 emails and letters and approximately 29,000 telephone enquiries.
Mr Klug suggested the growth in the usage of the TPB as a resource mirrors the increase in consumer and business awareness of the organisation.
He noted that 80 per cent of business owners are not aware of the tax regulator, up on 67.7 per cent in December 2020.
Consumer awareness of the TPB has also risen in recent months from 38.5 per cent in December 2020 up to 57.7 per cent in July 2021.
Looking forward, Mr Klug called the federal government’s recent response to the independent review into the effectiveness of the TPB and the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 a “positive step forward for the future”.
“In line with the review recommendations, we are working to finalise our memorandum of understanding with the ATO and formalise our data‑sharing arrangements with various agencies and stakeholders,” he said.
Mr Klug also indicated that the TPB would be looking to focus more on unregistered preparers in the coming year.
“We continue to invest in and improve on our data analytics capabilities to drive our compliance work, investigating those practitioners who choose to do the wrong thing, while supporting the majority that continue to uphold the high expectations of the profession and the integrity of our tax system,” he said.
This article was originally published on Accountants Daily's sister brand, nestegg.
Emma Ryan is the deputy head of content at Momentum Media and editor of the company's legal publication, Lawyers Weekly.
Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015 and has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia. In addition, she has produced exclusive multimedia and event content related to the company's respective brands and audiences.
A journalist by training, Emma has spent her career connecting with key industry stakeholders across a variety of platforms, including online, podcast and radio. She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism).