The AAT has confirmed a Tax Practitioners Board’s decision to terminate a tax agent’s registration because she was not a fit and proper person.
In November 2017 the Board terminated the applicant’s registration as a tax agent as it did not consider she was a “fit and proper person”, as required by s 20-5 of the Tax Agents Services Act 2009. The Board’s decision was based on:
- convictions in February 2017 for offences under the Crimes Act 1990 (NSW), which resulted in concurrent sentences of 18 and 20 months (the maximum sentence was 10 years imprisonment). The convictions were for proffering false dated copies of bank cheques in sworn evidence she gave in 2010 during a statutorily authorised examination by officers from the NSW Office of State Revenue; and
- the non-disclosure, in her March 2017 annual declaration, of a February 2016 reprimand for unsatisfactory professional conduct by the Legal Profession Board of Tasmania.
The applicant argued that her contemporary good fame was sufficiently established by the evidence of some of her clients and an employee. The AAT did not accept that proposition, saying that the positive endorsements submitted to evidence her good fame came from only 3 of her 1400 clients, and that “good fame requires a broader, and more impressionistic assessment than a person’s repute amongst their informed intimates”.
The AAT went on to say that the applicant’s current status was that “of a person who has been convicted of two charges of using false documents to influence the exercise of a public duty. She has also publicly acknowledged her guilt of a further offence of knowingly making a false statement under oath. She has been sentenced to imprisonment for a, currently unexpired, period of 20 months, and is subject to a good behaviour bond.” Those circumstances were, in the AAT’s opinion, incompatible with the applicant currently being regarded as a person who can properly be characterised as of “good fame”.
(Beckett and Tax Practitioners Board  AATA 1860, AAT, File No: 2017/7416, Taylor SM, 14 June 2018.)
The tax practitioner has appealed to the Federal Court against the decision of Taylor SM in Beckett and Tax Practitioners Board  AATA 1860.
[LTN 128, 6/7/18; LTN 137, 19/7/18; Tax Month – July 2018]
Comprehension questions (answers available)
- Did the AAT find that this Lawyer was a ‘fit and proper person’ to be registered as a tax agent?
- Was a key factor her dishonesty, under oath, leading to a suspended custodial sentence and being dishonesty in not disclosing reprimands for ‘unsatisfactory professional conduct’?
- Did the AAT regard the Applicant’s evidence of her ‘good fame’ as relevant?