ATO, Tax

Targeting of tax practitioners by TPB nets results

The Tax Practitioners Board’s (TPB) deliberate targeting of overdue returns pertaining to the personal accounts of tax practitioners has delivered significant results, with the ATO emphasising the importance this action has for SMSFs.

The TPB, in conjunction with the ATO, took action to pursue overdue personal tax returns yet to be lodged by thousands of tax practitioners last year.

“I’m pleased to see that many practitioners have responded, paying over $40 million in outstanding tax bills and taking action with more than 6000 late lodgements,” TPB chair Ian King said.

As a result of this focused compliance enforcement, 35 investigations into practitioners involved in situations considered to be higher risk have been commenced that could lead to termination of registration as a consequence.

ATO assistant commissioner Dana Fleming pointed out this was a significant development for the SMSF sector as well.

“This is particularly the case when some practitioners were found to be acting as trustees of their own SMSF, with collective outstanding returns of over a billion Australian dollars in superannuation retirement assets,” Fleming said.

“Over 1000 SMSF late returns have now been lodged by tax agent trustees, disclosing total assets exceeding $500 million.

“We continue to target tax practitioners who fail their legal and ethical responsibilities and the ATO is separately pursuing agent cases, including debt recovery litigation and prosecution actions.”

King added: “The message to tax practitioners is clear – you need to act now to ensure your personal tax obligations are up to date.”

Late last year, the TPB also chased up tax practitioners who were also SMSF trustees and late in lodging their funds’ annual returns.

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