The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) terminated the registration of Queensland tax agent, Gary Turner and imposed the maximum 5-year ban from reapplying for registration. Mr Turner showed total disregard for the tax profession and the welfare of taxpayers when he allowed unregistered preparers to dodge the registration requirements. He did this by allowing the unregistered preparers to use his tax agent number and his access to the Australian Taxation Office via Online services for agents, to provide tax agent services.
Unregistered preparers, who are often unqualified and poorly trained, operate outside of the law and pose a serious risk to taxpayers, the profession and the tax system. It is important for taxpayers to understand that if an unregistered preparer makes a mistake or submits a fraudulent tax return on their behalf, the taxpayer will be accountable for any liabilities and will have to pay any Australian Taxation Office penalties. It is also unlikely that an unregistered preparer will have appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover to compensate a taxpayer if they suffer a loss due to an error or omission that results from a service they provide.
TPB investigations found Mr Turner had breached several Code of Professional Conduct items. This included making false statements to the TPB to hide the fact he had not completed continuing professional education requirements (CPE). CPE is an important ongoing registration requirement that assists tax practitioners in maintaining the knowledge and skills relevant to the services they provide. In addition, Mr Turner claimed that he met the relevant experience requirements for registration even though he had not. He also failed to provide adequate supervision for the tax agent services provided on his behalf.
Due to his serious failures and his repeated misconduct, it was determined Mr Turner was no longer a fit and proper person to be registered as a tax agent.
Chair of the TPB, Mr Peter de Cure AM, is warning all tax practitioners that there are serious consequences for allowing people to use their registration number. ‘Anyone providing tax agent services on your behalf must be supervised. We will not allow this unethical behaviour to go unpunished and will continue to protect the public and prioritise these serious breaches of law and trust.’
Mr de Cure went on to say ‘Mr Turner’s conduct was serious and demonstrated dishonesty. His actions undermined the integrity of the tax profession and posed an unacceptable risk to the public.’
As a part of the TPB’s new Client Support Program, the TPB will be contacting the clients of Gary Turner urging them to ensure their personal information is secure and, if required, to seek out the services of a registered tax or BAS agent. This program has been developed by the TPB to assist and support the community by ensuring tax practitioner services are provided in accordance with appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct. It provides support to clients that find themselves in a difficult situation after using the services of a high-risk tax practitioner. If you need help finding a registered tax or BAS agent, check the TPB Register.
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, 18 October 2023