The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) is warning the public to be extra cautious this tax time and to be on the lookout for fake tax agents, also called unregistered preparers, trying to lure taxpayers into using their tax services.
Unregistered preparers operate outside of the law. They are often unqualified, poorly trained, and uninsured. Many are scammers who expose honest taxpayers to risk and potential penalties from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Taxpayers are being warned they are accountable for and will need to pay ATO penalties.
Unregistered preparers will often try to convince a client they can obtain unrealistically large tax refunds. Some will encourage the lodgement of fraudulent claims for refunds their clients are not entitled to. Others try to obtain your myGov sign in details, putting your personal information at risk.
The TPB is continuing to be vigilant in combating this illegal behaviour and has recently brought a case to the Federal Court of Australia. TPB enquiries found that Anthony Dean Buckland, a previously registered tax agent, had provided tax agent services for a fee while not registered to do so. The Federal Court ordered Mr Buckland and his company, Apat Na Seasons Pilipinas Corporation to stop preparing and lodging income tax returns for a fee.
If Mr Buckland or the company breach this order, they may be in contempt of court and face penalties, including imprisonment for Mr Buckland. This order will remain in place until the Court hears the TPB’s civil penalty application against Mr Buckland and the company.
TPB Chair, Peter de Cure AM, warned, ‘if you see an unregistered preparer offering tax services, it pays to be alert and sceptical, especially when they are contacting you through social media. Taxpayers obtaining professional tax advice should engage a tax practitioner registered with the TPB. This can be done by checking our Register.
He continued, ‘anyone who has used the services of Mr Buckland or Apat Na Seasons Pilipinas Corporation should contact the TPB, urgently review their tax affairs and ensure their personal information is secure. Remember – never share your myGov password with anyone as it puts your personal and financial information at risk. You could easily become a victim of identity theft.’
About the Tax Practitioners Board
The TPB regulates tax practitioners in order to protect consumers. The TPB aims to assure the community that tax practitioners meet appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Wednesday, 2 August 2023