Accounting firm banned for five years for misleading the ATO
Following a six-month investigation, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) has terminated the registration of a Victoria-based accounting firm and imposed the maximum five-year ban.
The TPB has terminated Associates Vic Pty Ltd, trading as Brown Baldwin and Associates (BBA), and imposed the maximum five-year ban.
During the investigation, the TPB found that BBA maintained two sets of financial accounts, one set for bank purposes and another for taxation purposes. This had led to misleading information being given to the Commissioner of Taxation and credit/finance companies.
The accounting firm also failed to meet its outstanding taxation obligations on several occasions, did not supervise its staff sufficiently to ensure that they were acting competently, and assisted some of its clients to set up companies for the purpose of avoiding payment of debts and tax.
Additionally, the TPB found that BBA’s directors, Andrew Locantro, Biren Shah and Rajinder Narula, were responsible for the misconduct of BBA and had provided misleading information to the TPB.
Speaking about the case, chair of the TPB, Ian Klug AM, observed, "Brown Baldwin and Associates have consistently and flagrantly ignored the standards required to be a tax practitioner.
"As a result of our investigation we concluded that the public could have no confidence that either the company or its directors will perform the functions of a registered tax agent either competently or with integrity."
Mr Klug cautioned that where tax practitioners deliberately choose to jeopardise the high levels of trust that the community, and the law, expects of the industry, the TPB will act with the harshest possible penalties.
The public are encouraged to make a complaint to the TPB if they feel a registered tax practitioner is not providing services to an appropriate standard. Complaints can be made at tpb.gov.au/complaints.