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Unregistered tax agents can cost you thousands, warns TPB

The TPB is warning the public about the risk of using unregistered tax agents.

  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • July 04, 2019
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The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) is currently investigating 37 cases involving unregistered tax agents and is warning the public to beware of agents posing as legitimate registered tax practitioners as tax time begins.

The warning follows cases of agents posing as tax agents who lodge tax returns on behalf of clients, often by accessing their myGov accounts and lodging through myTax.

In a recent case, clients of one unregistered agent were subject to potentially millions of dollars in tax bills and penalties by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

TPB CEO Michael O'Neill cautioned that unregistered agents often try to convince potential clients that they can obtain unrealistically large tax refunds.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Mr O'Neill said. “Using an unregistered tax practitioner can cost thousands of dollars in tax bills and penalties.

“It also means you are not covered by safe harbour provisions that offer protection against penalties from the ATO when a registered tax practitioner fails to lodge on time or makes a false or misleading statement on your return.”

The TPB said that following its current investigation into the 37 cases, it will bring the worst of them to the Federal Court of Australia for prosecution.

“We urge everyone this tax time not to share their personal myGov password with anyone, and if they plan to use a tax agent, to make sure they are registered with the TPB,” said Mr O’Neill.

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