The AAT has agreed to stay a decision of the Tax Practitioners Board to cancel a company’s registration as a tax agent for alleged failure to comply with the Code of Professional Conduct.

The termination was prompted by complaints made by a director of 2 corporate taxpayers, who claimed that the applicant used the Tax Agent Portal to extensively amend the taxpayers’ ATO records. The applicant did not deny this claim, but maintained that it was authorised to do so and had a signed engagement letter to that effect.

The applicant applied to the AAT for a review of the Board’s decision to cancel its registration. In a preliminary application, it sought a stay of the Board’s decision until the AAT’s review of the decision was concluded.

In granting the stay, the Tribunal concluded that there was a “substantial dispute” between the parties and that the applicant had “an arguable case”. Further, without a stay, the AAT accepted the applicant’s submission that it would be damaged irreparably before it had the chance to argue its case. However, the Tribunal ordered that the applicant refrain from taking on extra clients or expanding the scope of work with its current clients while the stay order was in force.

(Re ACN 147 341 991 Pty Ltd T/As DNV Accountants & Business Advisers and Tax Practitioners Board [2016] AATA 86, AAT, File No 2016/0466, Fice SM, 9 February 2016.)

[LTN 37, 25/2/16]