The AAT has granted a stay in the Tax Practitioners Board decision to cancel the registration of a company, ATP Group Pty Ltd, as a tax agent.

The Tribunal said a decision to cancel the registration of a tax agent will ordinarily be stayed by the AAT unless the public interest requires otherwise. The Tribunal decided to grant the stay for a number of reasons, including:

  • If the ATP Group were to succeed in its primary application to have the cancellation reversed, it would suffer serious damage both reputational and otherwise if the matter were not stayed.
  • The ATP Group has about 925 clients that rely on it for the conduct of their tax affairs. The Tribunal said if the primary application were to fail, they would need to find a new agent but at this stage the time, cost and inconvenience that this would entail is not warranted.
  • About half of the clients of the ATP Group are Arabic speakers and feel comfortable communicating with tax agents who speak their language. In these circumstances, the Tribunal said forcing so many clients (almost 500) to find a new agent with the requisite Arabic skills was not warranted at this stage.
  • There seemed in the Tribunal’s view to be no identifiable material prejudice to the TPB if a stay is granted.

In the result, the Tribunal held that the implementation of the Board’s decision of 23 December 2014 to cancel the registration of ATP Group Pty Ltd as a tax agent is stayed until the decision of the Tribunal on the application for review comes into operation or until further order of the Tribunal.

(Re ATP Group Pty Ltd and FCT [2015] AATA 225, 15 April 2015, AAT, Deutsch DP, File No: 2015/0240, 15 April 2015.)

[LTN 78, 27/4/15]