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‘Brazen’ unregistered tax preparer fined $230k, banned for life


Perth woman broke the TASA on more than 500 occasions and exposed clients to unpaid taxes and penalties.

By Philip King 12 minute read

A “brazen” unregistered tax preparer has been fined $230,000 for more than 500 contraventions of the law and permanently banned from providing agent services.

The Federal Court ordered Perth woman Jessa Van Stroe (also known as Jessa Layola) to pay the fine after finding she filed returns with unsubstantiated deductions that exposed clients to back taxes and penalties.

The court found Ms Van Stroe, who was unregistered with the TPB, had illegally charged clients fees to lodge returns on their behalf and in May 2022 determined she contravened the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 on 531 occasions and granted a permanent injunction restraining her from providing further tax agent services.


Imposing the $230,000 penalty, Justice Banks-Smith said: “It is readily apparent that Ms Van Stroe invested significant time in what was in effect a business of providing quick, unsubstantiated tax returns.

“This was not a case of casual advice given from time to time, or of 'helping out' a few people. It was a steady, deliberate and repetitive course of conduct.”

The TPB said the case was particularly concerning because Ms Van Stroe had exploited vulnerable taxpayers in circumstances where they had sought and paid for legitimate advice on their tax obligations.

“Ms Van Stroe caused genuine harm to her clients. Many were found by the ATO to have excessive and unsubstantiated deductions, exposing them to penalties and unpaid taxes which they are liable to repay,” the TPB said.

“In addition, Ms Van Stroe was aware she was operating in breach of the law by virtue of the TPB’s cease and desist letter.”

TPB chair Peter de Cure said the behaviour was brazen and unacceptable.

“She put taxpayers at risk for her own financial gain and has consistently shown brazen disregard for the law by continuing to provide illegal tax agent services despite knowing she was violating the law and at risk of court proceedings being pursued.”

“Unregistered preparers who undermine confidence in the services and reputation of the tax profession will not go undetected – the TPB are using proactive methods and data-driven technologies to find them.”

“It is important for anyone who has used the services of an unregistered preparer to review their tax returns. Unregistered preparers do not have the necessary skills or expertise to provide tax advice and by using their services taxpayers have no protection against penalties which could be applied for mistakes, as seen with Ms Van Stroe’s clients.”

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Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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