In separate cases, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) said it had found that two tax agents had breached the legislated Code of Professional Conduct, which applies to all registered tax practitioners.
In modifying sanctions imposed by the TPB, the AAT in the first case it has restricted the tax agent’s registration so that for three years the tax agent is not to offer any form of fee from refund service to their clients, according to a public communication from the TPB.
The tax agent is also restricted from involvement in any activity as part of their tax agent practice that includes the receipt of money belonging to their clients, according to the TPB statement.
In the second case, the AAT has restrained the tax agent from having any involvement in the preparation and lodgement of certain SMSF returns and statements until the tax agent undertakes and satisfactorily completes remedial education courses approved by the TPB.
Following the AAT decisions, the TPB said both tax agents will remain under rigorous compliance monitoring to “ensure that no further breaches of the code will occur”.
The TPB also noted that during both AAT proceedings, new information was presented to the AAT that was unavailable to the TPB at the time it made its decisions.
“As each case will be assessed on its particular facts, tax practitioners are encouraged to provide all relevant information to the TPB as early as possible to avoid heavy sanctions and any unnecessary litigation,” said the statement.
Acting chair of the TPB Greg Lewis said while a practitioner’s circumstances may explain how unprofessional conduct came to occur, it does not change the character of that conduct.
“Where there has been repeated misconduct, the TPB must act to protect the public and to maintain the integrity and trust in the profession,” said Mr Lewis.