As a registered tax practitioner, you are often required to collect, use, and store the personal information of your clients. This can pose a risk to both you and your clients. You can mitigate the risk to loss of personal information through the use of good privacy practices. You also have obligations under Code item 6 of the Code of Professional Conduct (Code) to maintain the confidentiality of client information and other legislation to protect tax file number information.
Once again, we’d like to remind you to make sure your professional indemnity insurance (PI insurance) details are up to date. As a registered tax or BAS agent, you must ensure your PI insurance details are up to date and that you are maintaining your ongoing registration requirements. Simply login to your My Profile account to update your details and the details of any of your associated entities. If you need help, our step-by-step video will guide you through the process.
During June and July, we'll run an online advertising campaign to create awareness amongst consumers of tax practitioner services to use only a registered tax practitioner. The campaign highlights the serious issue of unregistered agents using taxpayers' MyGov account details to lodge returns and encourages consumers to check the TPB Register to ensure their tax practitioner is registered. Our Register includes detailed reasons for any sanctions and renewal rejections which enables consumers to be informed and supports the majority of tax practitioners operating legally and ethically.
Due to an increase in attempts by criminals to commit refund fraud by stealing the identities of taxpayers, we’re working with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on measures to intercept attempted identity fraud targeted at registered tax practitioners and their clients. Our new draft guidelines aim to strengthen and modernise practices and controls tax practitioners follow when verifying the identity of their clients. We’re seeking your feedback on the draft guidance. To have your say send your submission by 10 June 2021.
To support economic growth, the Australian Government is instituting a deregulation agenda that will outline updated expectations for regulator performance and reporting. A draft regulator performance guide has been created. It outlines the principles of best practice that Commonwealth regulators are expected to report against. The Government is consulting publicly on the draft guide to ensure it’s informed by business and community expectations of regulators. Submissions are open until 21 May 2021 – have your say.
Join us for two free webinars on 20 May. The first session will run from 11:00am - 11:45am (AEST) and will see TPB Board member, Greg Lewis, provide guidance on the appropriate use and disclosure of client TFN information in email communications. Following this session, from 2:00pm - 3:00pm (AEST) Board member, Debra Anderson and Adam O’Grady from the ATO will discuss the different risk areas you need to consider this tax time.
We've shared some answers to questions we received during our recent webinars: Cracking the Code; Compliance 2020: A retrospective; and Preventing data breaches. Check out our webinar resources hub to find out more about cyber security, securing emails, how to handle complaints and what penalties can be expected for a breach of the Code. We also answer questions about supervision and control, confidentiality, continuing professional education (CPE) and more.
With tax time fast approaching, it’s important to ensure you’re prepared to meet the needs of your clients and are complying with your tax practitioner obligations. We recommend you: update your client list with the ATO; check your clients’ due dates; review engagement letters; and reassess your cyber security needs. In addition, we encourage you to download and display your personalised tax practitioner symbol. It’s a great way to assure clients you’re registered and are meeting the required professional standards.
If your details or circumstances change you have an obligation under the Code to notify us within 30 days from when you have or ought to have become aware of the change. This includes anything from a simple change in contact details to a total overhaul in your practice structure. You must also notify us if you change your legal or trading name or any other circumstances relevant to your registration change, including changes to professional association membership for those registered under Regulations 206 or 102.
Newly registered tax and BAS agents join us in June for an online ATO Open Forum. These sessions are a great opportunity for those who are new to the industry to learn about: the purpose of the TPB; what your obligations are under the Code; how to meet our CPE requirements; and much more. Numbers for each session are limited so register early – you don’t want to miss out!
In line with recommendations made by the Financial Services Royal Commission, a draft Bill has been released by the Government for consultation. The draft Bill will implement the Government’s response to recommendation 7.1 of the Independent Review of the Tax Practitioners Board by introducing a single registration and disciplinary system for tax (financial) advisers. If you would like to respond to this consultation, you can submit responses to Treasury up until 14 May 2021.
We terminated a tax agent who claimed over $700,000 in refunds by lodging fraudulent tax returns and business activity statements for 20 clients. Investigations revealed the agent was reporting different amounts in his client’s tax returns which resulted in refunds. He then claimed the refunds in his personal bank account. The Board Conduct Committee found the agent had breached the Code and ceased to be a fit and proper person. A ban of two years was also imposed from reapplying for registration.
The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) was established to regulate tax practitioners in order to protect consumers. The TPB assures the community that tax practitioners meet the appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct.
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