The Tax Practitioners Board has terminated the registration of a company tax agent after the agent attempted to financially influence a client to withdraw a complaint.
Tax agent terminated after trying to bribe client to withdraw complaint
The company tax agent — unnamed by the regulator — was found to have breached multiple provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct, leading to a ban from re-applying for registration for three years.
Investigations by the TPB found that the company failed to account to a client for money it held on trust for a client relating to a rollover of their superannuation entitlements, prompting the client to lodge a complaint with the regulator.
Upon knowledge of the complaint, the tax agent provided a financial incentive to the client to withdraw the complaint in an attempt to obstruct the TPB’s investigations.
Further examination by the TPB found that the company made false and misleading statements about whether they had outstanding tax obligations, the fitness and propriety of its directors and that certain tax agents were acting as supervising agents for the company when in fact they weren’t.
The company was also found to have used the name of a registered tax agent on multiple SMSF annual returns, despite the agent having no knowledge or involvement in the preparation or lodgement of the returns.
The TPB also found that the company failed to pay a significant outstanding tax debt as a trustee for a trust.
“In making its decision to terminate the company’s registration, the BCC [Board Conduct Committee] noted that the TPB’s role is to ensure consumer protection and that it has an objective to protect and maintain the integrity of the registered tax practitioner profession,” the TPB said.
“The BCC considered that the company’s attempt to obstruct our investigation is particularly serious behaviour, and that allowing the company to remain registered and continue to provide tax agent services would pose a significant risk to the public.”
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