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COVID-19 tax return spruikers move into regulator’s sights

Tax

Unregistered agents spruiking large tax refunds in light of COVID-19 are now being targeted as part of the Tax Practitioners Board’s latest campaign.

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The Tax Practitioners Board has now run out a new advertising campaign, warning the public about the risks of employing an unregistered agent this tax time.

The campaign comes as the TPB catches wind of unregistered agents who are seeking to convince potential clients that, due to the government stimulus measures, they can obtain unrealistically large tax refunds.

According to the TPB, it found that an individual whose registration was earlier terminated for fraud and dishonesty continued to operate by lodging 19 returns.

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“We know that consumers place a large degree of trust in their practitioner, but where the practitioner betrays that trust by putting their client’s interests and integrity of the tax system at risk, we will not hesitate to take action against them,” said TPB chair Ian Klug.

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. While an unregistered agent may promise large refunds, the taxpayers may leave themselves open to potentially thousands of dollars in tax bills and penalties.

“We are urging consumers to check the free online register of tax practitioners… and guard against putting their financial and personal information at risk.”

The campaign will also highlight the serious issue of unregistered agents using taxpayers’ myGov account details to lodge tax returns, exposing taxpayers to fraud and putting their financial and personal information at risk.

Unqualified JobKeeper advice

The TPB had earlier warned that some businesses and individuals might have been receiving unqualified advice around the government’s stimulus measures including JobKeeper, the cash-flow boost and the early release of superannuation from unregistered advisers.

Some of these unregistered advice providers include those working in employment services, payroll or as general business consultants, and promote their services through social media channels on a “no benefit, no fee” basis.

These unregistered providers often require businesses or individuals to provide personal or confidential information, including tax file numbers or myGov logins.

“We want to ensure that legitimate tax practitioners are not left at a competitive disadvantage by unregistered advisers offering benefits that are not available under the law,” Mr Klug said.

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian

AUTHOR

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.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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