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Tax agent terminated for dishonesty

A decision by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) to terminate a Victorian tax agent’s registration has been upheld by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Tax&Compliance Kyle Robbins 04 February 2022
— 1 minute read

Along with having her current registration terminated, Feride Cerrah has been banned from reapplying for registration with the TPB for four years, down from an initial five-year ban.

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The ruling came after an investigation concluded that Ms Cerrah had made “several misrepresentations to multiple federal government agencies and received higher government benefits then she may have otherwise been entitled to”.

The tribunal found that Ms Cerrah breached section 30-10 of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (Cth), pertaining to the code of professional conduct that registered tax agents are to comply with.

Ms Cerrah was ruled to have “failed to act with honesty and integrity, and comply with taxation laws in the conduct of her personal affairs, including by failing to advise the Commissioner of Taxation that she was required to lodge income tax returns (ITRs) for multiple years, and misrepresenting her assessable income in those years”.

Despite Ms Cerrah’s claims that her false declarations were not deliberate acts, but rather the result of carelessness and inadvertence”, the tribunal still judged in favour of the TPB.

Additionally, Ms Cerrah was found to have misled the TPB about meeting the continuing professional education (CPE) requirements”. The tribunal ruled that the 200 hours of CPE logged by Ms Cerrah were provided by an individual who was not and had never been a registered tax agent.

The tribunal found that there was simply no satisfactory evidence about what in fact occurred during each of the times ‘education’ was being delivered that would suggest it was continuing professional education as required by the Board’s policy”.

Ian Klug AM, chair of the TPB, stated that “acting with honesty and integrity is not just a regulatory requirement, it’s a pillar of the tax practitioner profession. It’s clear the public cannot trust Ms Cerrah to act accordingly when conducting her tax practitioner duties”.

Ms Cerrah’s pattern of dishonest behaviour and misrepresentations did not go undetected. The TPB will always act swiftly and firmly to protect the integrity of the tax system, the reputation of the tax practitioner profession and the broader community from unscrupulous agents,” Mr Klug said.

Tax agent terminated for dishonesty
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