With 2020 being a difficult year, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) is warning the public about the risks of employing an unregistered agent who may seek to convince potential clients that, due to the government stimulus measures, they can obtain unrealistically large tax refunds.
Chair of the TPB, Mr. Ian Klug AM said, ‘If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. While an unregistered agent may promise large refunds, the taxpayers may leave themselves open to potentially thousands of dollars in tax bills and penalties.
‘We are urging consumers to check the free online register of tax practitioners at tpb.gov.au/onlineregister and guard against putting their financial and personal information at risk.’
It follows a recent case where an individual whose registration was terminated by the TPB for fraud and dishonesty, continued to operate by lodging 19 returns. The TPB put a stop to this conduct and noted that if the affected taxpayers had checked the TPB Register they would have found that the individual was not registered. Undertaking such a check may have saved these taxpayers time and money.
Mr. Klug continued, ‘We know that consumers place a large degree of trust in their practitioner but where the practitioner betrays that trust by putting their client’s interests and integrity of the tax system at risk, we will not hesitate to take action against them.’
The TPB has issued a number of tips for tax time 2020.
- Check your tax practitioner is registered on the public register at tpb.gov.au/onlineregister. Only registered tax practitioners can charge a fee for tax agent services.
- Be careful if an agent offers to secure you additional government stimulus payments as a result of the COVID-19 situation.
- Never share your myGov password with anyone – doing so puts your personal information at risk.
- You should not allow anyone to lodge or prepare your tax return through your myGov account.