The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) has revealed the registered tax practitioner population and public searches for registered tax agents are on the rise.
In its 2017/18 annual report released today, the TPB said the registered tax practitioner population had more than tripled to 77,749 since the national body formed in 2010.
“Last year, we processed more than 14,000 registration and renewal applications for tax financial advisers,” TPB chair Ian Taylor revealed.
“With this rapid increase, we’ve taken the initiative to improve the online experience to submit applications.”
During 2017/18, there were more than 1.7 million public searches made on the TPB register to confirm tax practitioner registration details, an increase of 32 per cent on 2016/17.
“This increase highlights the public’s increasing awareness of the importance of engaging with the registered tax practitioner,” Taylor said.
“The TPB undertook a major functionality upgrade this year to provide an enhanced user experience for practitioners and consumers.”
He said the TPB is also responsible for protecting consumers by ensuring tax practitioners meet the registration and renewal requirements.
“The annual report released today confirms the TPB’s firm action against non-compliance with the Tax Agent Services Act 2009, code of professional conduct and breaches of the civil penalty provisions,” he noted.
“By the end of the year, this resulted in 287 administrative sanctions, including 81 orders, 182 written cautions and 24 terminations, compared to 17 in the previous year.”
Where the TPB suspects non-compliance, it may refer matters to the Federal Court.
Last year, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Federal Court affirmed seven TPB decisions on matters related to practitioner compliance with the code of professional conduct and the fit-and-proper requirements.
“Looking to the future, the TPB and the tax profession face challenges with a rapidly changing tax environment, new technology and risks associated with the black economy and the over-claiming of work-related expenses,” Taylor said.
“The TPB is prepared to meet these challenges with dedicated investigations teams, sharing intelligence with other agencies and proactive compliance strategies.”