In an online update, the ATO stated that following a referral in relation to identified SMSF auditor number misuse, the Tax Practitioners Board has decided to terminate the registration of a fourth tax agent.
The agent provided the ATO with documents relating to annual returns and SMSF independent auditor’s reports for two of her SMSF clients for the 2013 year, which indicated that she had audited and completed reports for those SMSFs.
The agent also stated to the ATO that she believed she was able to audit those SMSFs in her role as a member of a recognised professional association.
However, no audit was found to have been completed, with the agent falsely declaring it had been audited by another auditor.
According to the TPB, the agent was also aware that at that time that she was not an approved SMSF auditor and therefore was not lawfully permitted to conduct SMSF audits.
“The agent’s behaviour was uncovered after an auditor reviewed their client lists from multiple years and noticed funds listed that they had not audited. This auditor then got in contact with us and we were able to take appropriate action,” the ATO stated.
“The agent will not be able to apply for registration for two years. Penalties will apply if they continue to provide tax agent services.”
The ATO said this is the fourth agent who have now had their registration terminated for SAN misuse. A further three have had their registration suspended.
“We take these matters very seriously and will continue to take action whenever we identify individuals doing the wrong thing.”
The ATO recently completed its SAN misuse mailout for the 2019 income year and is encouraging SMSF auditors to check the list of clients that used their auditor number.
Back in July, the Tax Office reported that it had referred 18 tax agents to the Tax Practitioners Board in 2019–20 for the misuse of SMSF auditor numbers, and also identified some more serious cases involving forged audit reports.
ATO SMSF auditor portfolio director Kellie Grant previously said that she hopes the TPB outcomes serve as a deterrent for other tax agents who look to deliberately misreport a SAN.
“In addition to those agents we referred to the TPB, since 1 July last year, we’ve also referred a few to our prosecutions area and that’s where the SAN misuse was considered quite serious because the agent either obtained audit fees from clients and didn’t end up arranging those audits, or it actually went as far as forging the audit report,” she stated.
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.