The Federal Court has dismissed an appeal concerning the termination of a tax agent and a related tax agent company.

Previously, the AAT had affirmed the Tax Practitioners Board decision to terminate the tax agent’s registration and the registration of a company with whom he was related. The Board did so under s40-15(1)(b) of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA) on the basis that the company had ceased to meet the registration requirement in s20-5(3)(a) of the Act that each of its directors be a fit and proper person. The individual’s registration was terminated under s40-5(1)(b).

The individual was the sole director of the company. He also became the sole director and shareholder of a business solutions company that traded as the trustee of a trust. That company was granted registration as a tax agent in March 2011. It failed to lodge by the due dates a number of tax returns and BASs. The outstanding tax liabilities, which included GST and PAYG, totalled over $500,000.

After detailed consideration of the appellants’ several grounds of appeal, the Court dismissed the appeal by the tax agent and the company. Those grounds included whether the Tribunal:

  1. erred in failing to make a required finding of fact in relation to the agent’s competence;
  2. failed to give reasons for its conclusion;
  3. erred that in finding that the tax agent as sole director and sole shareholder, and had the use of monies to which he was not entitled, when there was no evidence to support the finding that he personally used those monies;
  4. erred in concluding concluding that the agent did not satisfy the competence, character and contrition elements of the “fit and proper person” test.

(Juneja & Anor v Tax Practitioners Board [2017] FCA 908, Federal Court, Besanko J, 10 August 2017.)

Catchwords

[Austlii: [2017] FCA 908; LTN 152, 11/8/17; TT August]

Catchwords from the Austlii Report

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – consideration of an appeal brought under s 44(1) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth) against a decision made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal –

  • whether applicants have identified an error of law in the Tribunal’s reasons –
  • where the Tribunal affirmed the decisions of the Tax Practitioners Board including the decision to terminate the first applicant’s registration as a tax agent pursuant to s 40-5(1)(b) of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (Cth) (Act) –
  • whether the Tribunal made a reviewable error in finding that the first applicant was not a ‘fit and proper person’ within the meaning of ss 20-5(1)(a) and 20-50(3)(a) of the Act –
  • where each conclusion of the Tribunal was open on the evidence before it–
  • whether the Tribunal had exercised the jurisdiction reposed in it given the considerable copying of the respondent’s closing written submissions in the Tribunal’s reasons
  • where many factual matters and the legal framework stated in the Tribunal’s reasons were not in dispute –
  • where on occasions the Tribunal gave acknowledgement where it was repeating or summarising or referring to a submission made by either the applicants or the respondent
  • where the Tribunal did not simply adopt or copy all of the respondent’s submissions –
  • where the applicants made an application to adduce further evidence on the appeal –
  • where further evidence sought to be adduced was irrelevant in light of proper construction of the Tribunal’s reasons.
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