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Tax agent banned for 4 years over false annual declarations

A Melbourne tax practitioner has been banned for four years after being found to have made false annual declarations to the TPB along with failing to manage personal tax affairs and completing professional education requirements.

Tax&Compliance Reporter 24 January 2022
— 2 minute read

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has affirmed the Tax Practitioners Board’s (TPB) decision to terminate Feride Cerrah’s tax registration, whilst varying her ban from five to four years.

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Ms Cerrah was registered as a tax agent in September 2017. In December 2020, the TPB had terminated Ms Cerrah’s registration as a tax agent after it was found that she was not a fit and proper person to be registered as a tax agent and breached the code of conduct.

The AAT affirmed the TPB’s findings that Ms Cerrah failed to act with honesty and integrity by submitting false annual declarations to the board for the years 2018 and 2019 because Ms Cerrah had declared she had no outstanding tax obligations when she in fact had overdue obligations for the 2017 and 2018 years.

She had failed to manage her personal affairs after failing to tell the ATO that she was required to lodge tax returns for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Ms Cerrah was also found to not declare all of her assessable income to the ATO in tax returns for the financial years 2015, 2016 and 2017 and failing to lodge her tax returns in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 years in order to receive a higher social security benefit than she would have otherwise been entitled to.

The AAT did not accept Ms Cerrah’s evidence that the matter was something that involved being “careless or inadvertent.”

The tribunal also found her explanation untruthful and inconsistent in her answers to the board’s inquiry around her annual declarations and why she did not lodge her returns and declare her assessable income.

Ms Cerrah referred to the “enormous personal stress' she was under because of a number of personal events such as a marriage breakdown and suffering a stroke in 2016, however, the tribunal was not persuaded that the breaches could be excused by such.

“As a tax agent doing tax returns for others, she must have been aware of the need to lodge returns and to declare income and to do so accurately and carefully,” the AAT said.

“She was on notice of the importance of lodging her own tax returns and having them up to date. Her explanations were in general unconvincing because of the inconsistencies I have referred to. In addition, none of her evidence about her mental condition was corroborated by any medical or other evidence as to its consequences and was largely self-serving and unconvincing.”

Ms Cerrah was also found to have falsely submitted her 2018 annual declaration that she had met the TPB’s minimum continuing professional education (CPE) requirements and had failed to maintain her knowledge and skills relevant to the provision of tax agent services in breach of her obligation.

The AAT found that at the date she made the declaration, she had not completed any continuing professional education. She had also not provided evidence to the TPB about that when it was requested in October 2020 and provided no evidence to the tribunal about it either.

The tribunal again was not able to accept Ms Cerrah completed sufficient continuing professional development by someone with appropriate qualifications or experience consistent because of the inconsistencies in Ms Cerrah’s evidence and the fact that all of her evidence about it was “self-serving, self-interested and uncorroborated.”

The AAT affirmed the termination that Ms Cerrah breached the code of conduct, involved dishonesty in dealings with the TPB and failed to comply with taxation laws in the conduct of her own affairs, however, reached the decision to vary the ban from five to four years after taking into account the impacts from Ms Cerrah’s personal circumstances. 

Tax agent banned for 4 years over false annual declarations
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Tony Zhang

Tony Zhang

Tony Zhang is a journalist at Accountants Daily, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the accounting sector.

Since joining the Momentum Media team in 2020, Tony has written for a range of its publications including Lawyers Weekly, Adviser Innovation, ifa and SMSF Adviser. He has been full-time on Accountants Daily since September 2021.

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

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