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Sydney tax agent banned over cash flow boost rort

Tax

A Sydney company tax agent has had its registration torn up after it was found attempting to rort over $20,000 of the COVID-19 cash flow boost.

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The Tax Practitioners Board has now terminated the company registration of TLL Tax Pty Ltd and imposed a two-year banning period.

An investigation by the regulator found that TLL Tax had lodged a business activity statement on behalf of a client without their knowledge or consent.

The BAS contained false turnover amounts that could not be substantiated, leading the client to become falsely eligible for the cash flow boost payment, which TLL Tax dishonestly applied for.

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Over $20,000 of the cash flow boost and unjustified GST refunds were subsequently paid into a bank account held by TLL Tax’s sole director, Liying Tong.

This payment was retained by the agent and transferred to another account and was not passed on to the client. 

The TPB also found that TLL Tax had lodged multiple income tax returns and BAS on behalf of a separate client who was no longer trading, without the client’s knowledge or authorisation.

The tax refunds were then paid to Ms Tong’s bank account.

Despite being confronted by the client, Ms Tong subsequently lodged unauthorised amendments to the client’s tax returns and BAS.

She then made an unsolicited offer to purchase the client’s business, which the client declined, and then followed up by offering to apply for COVID-19-related stimulus funds in return for a commission, despite knowing the client was ineligible to receive the stimulus benefits as it had not been trading for a number of years.

The TPB also found that Ms Tong has attempted to dissuade the client from reporting the misconduct to the ATO by suggesting she had claimed deductions for them without supporting documentation and that dobbing her in would result in an audit of the client’s affairs.

Ms Tong was also found to have provided her myGovID credentials to her staff, providing them with an opportunity to make changes to taxpayers’ accounts and lodge returns without any authorisation, supervision and control.

TPB chair Ian Klug said the misconduct of TLL Tax and Ms Tong was of grave concern to the regulator.

“To fraudulently claim COVID-19 stimulus payments affects the entire Australian community and takes advantage of the pandemic situation we are all living under,” Mr Klug said.

“Ms Liying Tong was in a position of trust, operating in an uncertain environment, and she abused that trust.”

The termination comes after both the ATO and the TPB warned that it would take “firm and swift action” against taxpayers and tax agents who attempt to defraud the government’s COVID-19 stimulus measures.

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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