The conduct of a registered tax practitioner is regulated in part by the Code of Professional Conduct (Code) in the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA).

We can impose administrative sanctions on practitioners who fail to comply with the Code, or take other actions against practitioners who breach other parts of the TASA.

Administrative sanctions

If we investigate a practitioner and find that they have failed to comply with the Code, there is a graduated level of administrative sanctions that we can apply, including:

  • giving a written caution

  • requiring a response to requests and directions from the Board

  • requiring a course of training be completed

  • subjecting a practitioner to specified restrictions

  • requiring a practitioner to practise under the supervision of another registered practitioner

  • suspending registration for a period of time

  • terminating registration.

We may also terminate a practitioner's registration if:

Other actions we may take

Non-application period

Where we terminate a practitioner’s registration, we may also determine a period, of not more than five years, during which the practitioner may not apply for registration. The primary purpose of imposing a non-application period is to protect the public and the integrity of the tax profession.

There are a number of factors that may be relevant when determining what, if any, period is appropriate. Each case will be assessed on its own facts and circumstances, but our general approach is set out below.

  • A lengthy period may be appropriate where there is evidence of one or more of the following:

    • dishonest or fraudulent conduct

    • a pattern of persistent contraventions

    • serious incompetence

    • risk that the conduct will re-occur

    • significant adverse impact on the integrity and confidence in the profession.

  • Mid-range banning periods will generally reflect one or more of the following:

    • adverse impact on the integrity and confidence in the profession

    • false, misleading or deceptive conduct

    • incompetence, irresponsibility or carelessness.

  • The lowest periods are reserved for cases where:

    • the conduct is isolated, or as a result of carelessness or inadvertence

    • the person has cooperated with the regulator and attempted to remedy the contravention

    • there is no real or potential loss to clients or the integrity of the tax profession.

Civil penalty action

We may also apply to the Federal Court for a civil penalty to be imposed on a practitioner for serious misconduct, such as:

  • making a false or misleading statement to the Commissioner

  • employing or using the services of deregistered entities, in certain circumstances

  • signing a declaration or other statement relating to a document for a taxpayer that was prepared by an entity other than:

    • the practitioner

    • another practitioner who is an individual

    • another individual working under the practitioner’s supervision and control or the supervision and control of another practitioner who is an individual.

We may also apply to the Federal Court for an injunction to restrain or require certain conduct.

Last modified: 21 February 2020