ATO action taken against agent non-lodgement

ATO action taken against agent non-lodgement

Earlier this year, the ATO ‘encouraged’ tax agents with overdue tax obligations to bring their own tax returns and activity statements up to date.

The ATO issued final notices to agents with outstanding obligations in April, with a due date of 1 June 2015.

In June, 131 agents who had not met the due date were referred for prosecution, and, to date, 111 matters have been completed (with 68% of cases resulting in prosecution outcomes) and fines totalling $103, 400 have been issued, and the Tax Practitioners Board (the TPB) has been notified of all prosecutions.

There are more cases progressing through court over the coming months.

The ATO warns that, if a practitioner’s obligations are still not up to date, “you can expect further action”, which can include prosecution, audits, penalties and informing the TPB.

It obviously goes without saying that these actions can affect reputations and the ability to operate as a tax practitioner.

Ref: ATO Newsroom, 19 October 2015

Editor: as a case in point, in the recent case of Delis and Tax Practitioners Board [2015] AATA 820, the AAT upheld the decision of the TPB not to renew the registration of a tax agent (and his company).

The AAT help that the agent was not a “fit and proper person” due to his personal non-compliance with the taxation laws, including his (or his company’s) failure to meet lodgement dates for his personal income tax returns and activity statements, failure to remit compulsory superannuation payments for his employees, and failure to pay tax liabilities as and when they became due (including defaulting on payment arrangements with the ATO).

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