TPB must act on SAN misuse

TPB SAN misuse

A Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) review of tax agents believed to have misused SMSF auditor numbers (SAN) is essential to prevent it happening again.

A specialist auditor has welcomed the Tax Practitioners Board’s (TPB) review of 74 registered tax practitioners believed to have provided false information to the ATO, including incorrect SMSF auditor numbers (SAN).

Elite Super managing director Katrina Fletcher, whose SAN was fraudulently used, had previously called for suitable punishment to be brought upon tax agents who were found to have deliberately and illegally misused SANs.

“[The TPB] had to get involved; it was essential. The ATO had got to the end of where they could go with their punishment for the people that took my signature and SAN,” Fletcher told selfmanagedsuper.

“I was told by the ATO, ‘we’ve done all we can, it’s now in the hands of the TPB’, and I voiced my opinion that if [the TPB] didn’t act, I was going to be [disappointed].

“It’s great news that [the TPB] are taking the issue [of SAN misuse] seriously.”

All 74 tax practitioners under review, responsible for 106 funds, were referred to the TPB after the ATO found they had lodged annual returns for the 2017 financial year with an incorrect SAN.

Fletcher said the outcome of the TPB’s review would ideally be more than a “slap on the wrist” for tax agents found to have acted illegally.

“I would leave it to the discretion of the TPB [in terms of] what they thought would be the [appropriate] punishment for not acting in a fit and proper manner in these circumstances,” she added.

“I’ve heard [practitioners might] be removed of their ability to practice as a tax agent. I’m not going to say they shouldn’t be able to earn a living anymore. That’s a very heavy penalty.

“On the other end of the scale, I wouldn’t expect a $500 fine and [the fraudulent tax agent] going on their merry way again.”

In May, the TPB said: “Misconduct or failure to adequately respond to the TPB’s inquiries is a breach of the code of professional conduct and may result in imposition of sanctions, including suspension or termination of registration”.

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