Unregistered tax agent inflates tax deductions
The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) has urged taxpayers seeking tax advice to engage a tax professional registered with the TPB by checking the TPB register.
On Friday, 1 March, before Justice Darryl Rangiah of the Federal Court of Australia, Kent Scott Hacker of Stafford, Brisbane, undertook to not provide tax services illegally in response to an application brought by the TPB.
The TPB alleged that Mr Hacker was acting unlawfully, charging fees while unregistered and failing his clients by claiming false and inflated tax deductions of thousands of dollars.
Mr Hacker’s undertaking to the Federal Court means he cannot provide tax agent services or BAS services to clients for a fee.
CEO of the TPB, Michael O’Neill, said unregistered advisers put their clients at risk by offering poor tax services, lodging false tax statements and potentially exposing them to thousands in taxes and penalties.
"Over the past six months, the TPB has reviewed 75 cases of complaints about unregistered tax advisers who are failing to provide legal and ethical advice to their clients," Mr O’Neill said.
"Clients who are already caught up with an unregistered adviser should urgently review their affairs and, if required, contact the ATO."
Taxpayers seeking help from the ATO to correct and amend their affairs can contact the ATO, the TPB advised. Penalty reductions may be available for any taxpayer making voluntary disclosures to the ATO.
The litigation against Mr Hacker continues, and his undertaking will remain in place until the TPB’s application for penalties and final injunction is heard.
Court awarded penalties for breaching tax agent services laws can be as high as $52,500 for each offence by an individual, and $262,500 for a company.