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Newsletter from the Tax Practitioners Board
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Issue 32 | July 2019 - General edition
TPB news

Your feedback on TPB eNews

In our last edition, we included a reader survey to help us to better understand and meet your needs. To all who completed the survey – thank you! Your feedback is important to us. As you’ve told us you want to receive TPB eNews every month, that starts happening from this issue. Of the other key findings from survey respondents:

  • 77% read most editions
  • 80% find the articles relevant
  • 88% are satisfied with TPB eNews
  • 97% find the content informative.

Be social

It’s now easier to stay in touch with us! You can follow us on our new Facebook page. ‘Like’ our page to keep up-to-date with all our latest news and events – you’ll never miss a funny cat meme again. You can also find us on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. Choose your favourite way to connect with us, so you don’t miss out on important updates.
 

72-hour complaint resolution process

We’ve heard what you had to say about our 72-hour complaint resolution process and have put the program on-hold. Under our existing process, we’ll continue to encourage complainants to resolve complaints directly with their tax practitioner in the first instance. Where required, we will continue to engage the practitioner and the complainant to assist in working through the specifics of the complaint.

Read more about complaints.

Payroll service providers and STP

With the roll out of single touch payroll (STP) to smaller employers on 1 July, now’s a good time to look at our updated guidance. It includes information about the use of STP to perform payroll functions and transmitting data to the ATO. To provide outsourced payroll services, you must be registered as a tax or BAS agent. Our helpful examples explain this scenario and others. There are serious consequences for anyone providing services while not registered.

Learn more.

Compliance

Bankrupt tax agent has registration terminated

On 9 May we terminated Mr Peter Moltoni’s tax agent registration and banned him from re-applying for the maximum five years. We investigated Mr Moltoni following an Australian Taxation Office (ATO) audit which resulted in amendments of over $33 million against him. As a result, he became bankrupt with debts exceeding $36 million. Mr Moltoni failed to disclose these events to the Board, in breach of the requirements of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA).

Read our media release.

AAT rejects application for stay of TPB decision

Tax (financial) adviser, Mr Neil Evans’ application for a stay of our decision to terminate his registration was rejected by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) on 21 June. We terminated his registration after he ceased to be a fit and proper person. Mr Evans had plead guilty to contravening the Crimes Act 1958 and did not disclose that he was subject to an Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) investigation. ASIC also permanently banned him from providing financial services.

Read more.

Debt and lodgement strategy update

We require all tax practitioners to take urgent action to settle overdue personal tax obligations. It’s important to rectify all overdue lodgements and pay outstanding tax debts or enter into an approved payment arrangement with the ATO. We’ve commenced investigating the most serious cases where tax practitioners have failed to resolve their overdue tax obligations. The majority of these have resulted in the practitioner’s registration being terminated – many with a five-year exclusion period applied.

Read more about your obligations.

Tax time

Using an unregistered agent is a big risk

As tax-time begins we’re warning the public about the risk of using unregistered tax agents. It follows recent cases of unregistered agents posing as legitimate registered tax practitioners. We take this matter very seriously and are currently investigating 37 cases in relation to unlawful activities of unregistered agents. We are advising consumers that it could cost them thousands of dollars in tax bills and penalties – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Read our media release.

Be prepared this tax time 

Make sure you’re prepared this tax time. We recommend you: update your client list with the ATO; check your clients' lodgement program due dates; review client engagement letters; assess your cyber security needs; and download your Registered tax practitioner symbol (symbol). The symbol is a great way to promote your services. It gives your clients confidence that you are registered and meet the required professional standards. 

You can download your free, unique symbol from My Profile.

Support your clients

If you’re looking for some helpful information for your clients this tax time, take a look at our new fact sheet, Information for clients. It provides details about the obligations your clients have to you and to the ATO. It also explains what your clients should expect from you and includes a couple of interesting scenarios to assist in your tax time conversations with your clients.
 
Download our fact sheet.

Inappropriate use of myGov

The ATO has identified registered tax agents and unregistered preparers using myGov to lodge tax returns on behalf of clients. This is a breach of the ATO Online terms and conditions. The ATO is monitoring this issue closely and will be referring inappropriate use cases to us for investigation. Registered tax agents must only use online services for agents to manage client’s tax affairs.

If you’re aware of anyone doing the wrong thing, let us know by submitting an online complaint.

Practice management

Don’t ignore your annual declaration

Did you know failure to submit your annual declaration on time means you’re failing to respond to a direction from the Board? This is a breach of the Code and has serious consequences. Six practitioners who failed to lodge annual declarations in April have been issued written cautions, orders to lodge, and had their registrations suspended for three months. You must comply with your annual declaration requirements – it’s a simple online process with no payment required.

Read our media release.

Protect your identity

Next time you lodge your annual declaration we’ll ask you to complete a proof of identity (POI) check. You can use a range of identity documents – just make sure they are valid and enter the details exactly as they appear on the documents. Also, ensure your legal name on your documents is exactly the same as the name you used to register with us. This one-off process helps protect your identity and aligns us with Australian Government standards.
 
Learn more.

Legislative updates

New arrangements for whistleblowers

New arrangements to better protect individuals who disclose information on tax avoidance behaviour and other tax issues commenced on 1 July 2019. The new legislation provides tax practitioners with the ability to disclose information on unlawful clients to relevant authorities, such as the Commissioner of Taxation, without fear of breaching the confidentiality requirements in the TASA.

Review of the TASA and TPB update

A number of submissions on the Review of the TASA and the TPB were received and 30 non-confidential submissions have been published on the Treasury website. Some of the key themes raised in the submissions include: the TPB’s independence; funding; regulatory overlap; and improving visibility. Review Chair, Keith James, is expected to release a Discussion Paper, in July based on the feedback and submissions received in response to the terms of reference and has welcomed further submissions from the public.

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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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