Press Release: The Tax Institute urges financial planners to check compliance after unregistered tax agents fall foul of the law

Australia’s leading educator and association of tax professionals, The Tax Institute, has warned tax agents and financial planners to ensure they have complied fully with registration requirements are after an unregistered Canberra-based tax agent and his company was ordered to pay $900,000 in fines.

The Federal Court of Australia has imposed the largest penalty to date for breaches of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA). Mr Kolya and his company, HP Kolya Pty Ltd, were ordered to pay $150,000 and $750,000 respectively, alongside an injunction that prevents both parties from providing or advertising tax agent or BAS services for the next 10 years.

Chief Executive Officer for The Tax Institute, Noel Rowland, said the judgement and scale of penalty imposed was indicative of the importance of completing the education requirements set out under the legislation.

In the May judgement, the Court found that the actions undertaken by Mr Kolya and his company in preparing, amending and lodging tax returns and business activity statements were knowingly in breach of the TASA.

Neither Mr Kolya nor his company were registered tax agents or BAS agents at the time, yet advertised the provision of tax agent services on their website.

“The Kolya case is a timely reminder to prospective tax agents, and particularly financial planners, of the registration requirements under TASA,” Mr Rowland said.

“Many financial planners may not be aware they operate within the TASA regime and are required to be compliant with the education and registration requirements of that legislation,” he said.

“In order to successfully register, tax agents and planners must have completed courses in Commercial Law and Australian Taxation Law that are approved by the Tax Practitioners Board.”

The Tax Institute was one of the only industry bodies that offered comprehensive courses in both Commercial Law and Australian Taxation Law that meet the educational eligibility requirements of the Tax Practitioners Board.

As well as meeting the educational requirements, Mr Rowland said the courses were designed to provide individuals and experienced professionals with up-to-date information, detailed understanding and practical application of tax law in Australia.

The Tax Institute is urging any practicing tax agents, BAS agents and financial planners to ensure they were compliant with the TASA and Tax Practitioners’ Board requirements and, if they were not, to visit The Tax Institute’s website to enrol in the approved courses.

The Tax Institute has over 70 years’ experience as Australia’s leading educator and professional association in tax. The Tax Institute provides training and education, knowledge products and internationally recognised CTA designation that enhances the credentials of its 15,000 members.

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