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Newsletter from the Tax Practitioners Board
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Issue 36 | November 2019 - General edition
TPB news

Hear from the Chair

TPB Chair, Ian Klug AM delivered a keynote speech on 17 October. He discussed how the TPB is addressing the issue of high-risk practitioners. Early analysis of this group suggests a connection with significant tax risks including over $1 billion in overclaimed tax deductions. These highest risk practitioners and unregistered agents have significant reach into the community and are linked to around 4,600 controlled entities and 2.9 million associated clients. You can watch a recording of Ian’s speech.

Learn more.

TPB Annual Report released

The TPB Annual Report 2018-19 has been released and highlights a significant change in senior management, and a dramatic spike in compliance action in the past 12 months. Our changed focus delivered the following results (when compared to the previous year):

  • the number of total sanctions rose from 287 to 749 (161% increase)
  • the number of terminations increased from 24 to 74 (208% increase)
  • the number of written cautions increased from 182 to 540 (197% increase).

Learn more.

Practice management tips

Natural disaster assistance

When disaster strikes, we understand the security and safety of family and property is your main priority. If you or your practice have been impacted by the current fire disasters, there are ways we can help. When you’re ready, please contact us for assistance. We’ll work with you to resolve any TPB matters or provide extensions on issues such as renewal or annual declaration, where necessary. We wish you the best during this emergency.

Free webinars count for CPE

Our free webinars are a great way for you to keep up-to-date and gain continuing professional education (CPE). We have two webinars planned for Thursday 21 November and you can claim one hour of CPE for attending each one. The first webinar will provide information on the new whistleblowing legislation and your obligations around confidentiality. The second, is tailored to our newly registered tax practitioners and will provide some valuable information about your ongoing registration obligations.

Register now.

Proof of identity checks

When completing your annual declaration, you must complete a one-off proof of identity (POI) check. To speed up the process make sure you have your POI documents handy. To verify your POI online you can use a range of Australian-issued identity documents such as: driver licence; Medicare card; or Australian passport. Enter the details exactly as they’re shown on the documents. For example, only enter a middle initial in your name if it’s included on your POI document.
 
Learn more.

Your annual declaration is important

We’re concerned about the number of annual declarations being lodged after the due date. Over the last few months 17% of annual declarations have been lodged late. It’s a simple online form with no payment required. We send you reminders three weeks and one week before the due date, with instructions on how to lodge. There are serious consequences for not submitting your annual declaration on time, including losing your portal accesses. It could disrupt your business!

Learn more.

Compliance

Tax agent appeal fails before Full Federal Court 

Following six years of litigation, former tax agent, Mr Rudy Frugtniet, has failed to overturn the TPB’s decision to terminate his registration in the Federal Court of Australia. The TPB terminated his registration in January 2013, finding Mr Frugtniet had demonstrated a long history of misconduct. He has pursued legal action against the TPB since that time, with two Administrative Appeal Tribunal reviews and three Federal Court appeals which finally culminated in this Full Federal Court decision.

Learn more.

Don’t be a victim of fraud by sharing your myGov password

Mr Benjamin Cox posed as a tax agent and lodged over one thousand individual tax returns using taxpayer’s personal myGov access. He then had client refunds, in excess of $100,000, deposited into his personal bank account. Mr Cox pled guilty to defrauding clients and obtaining financial advantage by deception, and dealing with identity information to commit an offence. He will be sentenced on 4 December at Mount Druit Court.

Learn more.

Over $1 billion in overclaimed tax deductions identified

Working closely with our co-regulators, we are focussing our compliance efforts primarily on the 2,000 highest risk tax practitioners and unregistered agents identified through data analysis.  Early analysis of 2018 lodgements indicate the clients of this high-risk group are overclaiming work-related expenses to the tune of $1 billion. In addressing this issue we’re focusing on reducing the tax gap to deliver a stronger fiscal policy to enhance the government's capacity to improve services for all Australians.

Learn more.

Whistleblower protection

New whistleblower laws commenced on 1 July to protect people who ‘blow the whistle’ about an entity that’s not complying with tax laws. Whistleblowers play a critical role in the early detection and prosecution of corporate or tax misconduct. The changes will protect tax and BAS agent whistleblowers from administrative liability (including disciplinary action) where they make a protected disclosure about a client’s tax affairs. This means you will not be sanctioned for breaching Code item 6 – confidentiality.

Learn more.

Compliance case studies

We’ve added new Board Conduct Committee case studies to our website. The new cases highlight our ongoing work to take firm action on those agents who do not comply with their obligations under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009, including the Code of Professional Conduct. By addressing high risk behaviour, we are protecting the community and supporting the majority of practitioners who continue to act with integrity and do the right thing.
 
Learn more.

Legislative updates

TPB review

The Final Report on the Review of the Tax Practitioners Board was delivered to Government on 31 October 2019. The Government is currently considering the report and the Review’s recommendations. No decision has been made in regard to the release of the report – we will issue further information as it becomes available.

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About the Tax Practitioners Board
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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