Over the last twelve months the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) has cancelled the tax agent registration of over twenty accountants for failing to meet their ongoing registration requirements.
These cancellations have been the result of tax agents failing to:
- Have adequate professional indemnity cover
- Undertake continuing professional development
- Satisfy the fit and proper requirements
- Meet their personal tax obligations
- Take reasonable care in the preparation of tax returns for clients
Often the cancellation of an accountant’s tax agent registration by the TPB will result from a referral or recommendation by the Australian Tax Office (ATO). The ATO often conducts Work Practices Reviews of Tax Agents to ensure their current work practices meet the minimum standards required of tax agents under the Tax Practitioners Act. Tax Agents who fail to meet the minimum standards under the Tax Practitioners Act can have their tax agent registration suspended or cancelled.
Accountants, like all professionals, need to ensure they continually invest in themselves with on-going training and development. In this fast paced world, a professional’s skills and expertise can quickly become out of date.
As no-one supervises tax agents on a day to day basis, some agents become complacent, lazy, and start taking short cuts. Once an accountant lowers their professional standards they are on a slippery slope downhill which never ends well.