AAT restricts tax agent from lodging SMSF returns

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has restrained a tax agent from having any involvement in the preparation and lodgement of certain SMSF returns, after an investigation found they had breached the code of professional conduct.

In separate cases, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) said it found two tax agents had breached the legislated Code of Professional Conduct, which applies to all registered tax practitioners.

In the first case, the tax agent is restricted from involvement in any activity as part of their tax agent practice that includes the receipt of money belonging to their clients, the TPB said in a statement.

In the second case, the AAT 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,” it said.

TPB acting chair 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,” he said.

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