You have 0 free articles left this month.
Register for a free account to access unlimited free content.
accountants daily logo

TPB warns taxpayers of unregistered agents in awareness campaign


The regulator’s new initiative aims to protect individuals and small businesses from fraud.

By Christine Chen 12 minute read

The TPB has launched a public campaign highlighting the dangers of using dodgy agents in the lead-up to tax time.

It said the campaign, themed ‘Find a tax agent you can trust’, would run until the end of July to educate taxpayers and small businesses.

“The campaign will highlight the serious issue of unregistered tax preparers using taxpayers’ MyGov account details to lodge tax returns,” it said.


“This illegal activity exposes consumers to fraud and puts their financial and personal information at risk.”

The TPB said it would advertise on social media and podcasts and use banner advertisements encouraging taxpayers to check the TPB register to verify their agents’ registration status.

It also launched an educational webpage with an interactive tool featuring 10 different tax preparer scenarios.

“If you use someone to prepare or lodge your tax returns, notices or statements, or to provide you with tax advice this tax time, make sure they are registered with the TPB,” the page read.

“Engaging with a registered tax practitioner ensures the service you are receiving comes from a qualified professional and may protect you from penalties should your practitioner not take reasonable care. Remember, you are responsible for your return even if someone prepares it for you.”

The tool classified tax agents recommended by friends or family, accountants belonging to a professional association, friends, former tax agents and tax agents who promoted themselves on job boards as potentially untrustworthy.

“It is common for illegitimate or terminated agents to promote tax services on job boards as a means of avoiding regulation from the TPB. Engaging their services, without ensuring they are properly registered, exposes you to risk and possible penalties if they include false or misleading information in your return,” one card read.

Consumers were also warned against using tax agents registered in another country.

“While they might be excellent agents in their own countries, they are unlikely to know enough about our tax system to be helpful. They still have to be registered with the TPB if they receive a payment or benefit from you,” the TPB said.

The card with the scenario of “BAS agents or financial advisers offering tax return services” was also deemed untrustworthy.

“Only registered tax agents can legally prepare and lodge tax returns on behalf of clients.”

The campaign follows the recent introduction of annual registration rules to increase visibility over practitioners.

Tax agents seeking to maintain their registration would be required to pay $273 annually after the government updated the fee schedule and abolished the triennial system.

The TPB said the registration period changing from three years to one year was a decision made by the government to ensure ongoing visibility of tax practitioner registrations.

“[It] will increase consumer confidence that tax practitioners continue to meet their ongoing registration requirements and only those that should be registered are,” the TPB said on its website.

Christine Chen

Christine Chen


Christine Chen is a graduate journalist at Accountants Daily and Accounting Times, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting sector.

Previously, Christine has written for City Hub, the South Sydney Herald and Honi Soit. She has also produced online content for LegalVision and completed internships at EY and Deloitte.

Christine has a commerce degree from the University of Western Australia and is studying a Juris Doctor degree at the University of Sydney. 

You are not authorised to post comments.

Comments will undergo moderation before they get published.

accountants daily logo Newsletter

Receive breaking news directly to your inbox each day.