A number of these 350 tax practitioners have been referred on from the ATO, who had earlier circled 500 agents of concern that it believes are reckless and push the boundaries by making claims that are not supported by law.
Among some of the high-risk behaviours suspected of the 350 include overclaiming work-related expenses on behalf of clients and egregious conduct which is considered black economy behaviour.
Other high-risk behaviour includes failure to meet personal tax obligations, non-compliance with continuing professional education (CPE) requirements and non-lodgement of annual declarations.
Heavy sanctions to come
As a warning to tax practitioners ahead of its renewed focus this financial year, the TPB has disclosed a number of heavy sanctions it handed out in June 2019.
Of eight cases investigated under the debt and lodgement project, five tax practitioners had their registrations terminated for failure to meet personal tax obligations, four with the maximum five-year exclusion period.
Of the eight investigations into non-compliance with CPE requirements, five tax practitioners were issued with suspensions, three with cautions and all eight ordered to complete additional hours of CPE.
TPB chief executive Michael O’Neill also noted several large penalties and sanctions on tax practitioners following multiple investigations into high-risk behaviours recently.
Three tax practitioners received the maximum five-year registration termination: one for fraudulently lodging income tax returns for several clients, another for failing to disclose approximately $1 million in tax debt and overdue lodgement for more than 30 companies, and one for not providing evidence of professional indemnity insurance (PII) coverage since 2017.
Further, one tax practitioner was handed a one-year suspension following investigations that indicated that the tax practitioner had engaged in conduct that suggested personal spending on cars, holidays and dining expenses over the repayment of tax obligations.
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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.