With a $30.4 million funding increase for the Tax Practitioners Board, the government is stepping up its efforts to battle shady tax advisers and unregistered individuals peddling tax services (TPB).
Taxpayers who use tax practitioner services will now benefit from stronger protection against the risk of engaging with an untrustworthy agent, thanks to increased funding for the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).
The government has stated in its budget that it will allocate an additional $30.4 million to support further TPB inquiries into high-risk tax practitioners and unregistered preparers. The money will be given out over a 4-year period. The TPB is the organisation in charge of tax agent registration, evaluation, and discipline; however, due to a lack of funding, not all reports of unethical behaviour by tax agents or other professionals were looked into.
TPB will use new, data-driven ‘risk engines’ to better identify tax practitioners who engage in poor and unlawful tax advice, which will improve compliance and raise industry standards.
Speaking about the additional funding, the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services, Stephen Jones MP, remarked, “We believe this investment will enhance community confidence, support high standards in the tax profession and by removing unscrupulous tax practitioners from practice, will deliver additional revenue lost through tax dodging schemes.”
The funding follows TPB’s recently announced Annual Report for 2021-22, which describes a year in which the TPB was instrumental in providing support to both the public and tax practitioners despite the impacts of natural disasters and the ongoing effects of COVID-19.
Outlining successful highlights of the TPB’s year, the Annual Report describes:
- Supporting the public, including clients of tax practitioners, by addressing over 1,300 complaints and referrals
- Guiding practitioners with policy and advice, so they can assist their clients and improve voluntary compliance.
- Improving community confidence in the system by conducting over 2,212 investigations and reviews, targeting high-risk tax practitioners who may be associated with tax avoidance or evasion
- Protecting the Australian community from unregistered advisers, who may prey on vulnerable Australians with fraud or false tax claims. This included seeking court injunctions and penalties to stop misconduct and practical guidance to over 4,000 former clients to assist in resetting their tax affairs with the ATO.
- Upholding the high ethical and professional standards of most tax advisers, ensuring egregious misconduct is addressed and sanctioned. The TPB Public Register encourages transparency, supports consumers in selecting the right tax practitioner, and deters future misconduct by noting cases subject to sanctions. Over 1 million searches are made on the TPB Public Register each year.
- Working with key partners and stakeholders, including practitioners, professional associations and the ATO, to support Australia’s tax and superannuation systems. This includes TPB webinars to enhance skills and standards, attended by over 70,000 tax advisers last year.
Read the TPB Annual Report 2021-22