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Worth an argument??? Maybe not…

In the case Cross and Tax Practitioners Board [2021] AATA 441, the Commissioner wrote to the Tax Practitioner Board, saying that a tax agent had lodged 125 SMSF annual reports, each saying the fund had been audited by a specific auditor on a certain date, when no such audit had occurred.

The best part is the tax agent had been doing this for 10 years and eight different SMSFs had now lodged 10 yearly SMSF annual returns, each saying they had been audited on a certain date by a certain auditor, when they had not.

This means that each of these SMSFs had not been audited for 10 years!

So what do you do when you get caught not getting SMSFs audited and just putting a random date and random auditor on SMSF Annual Returns?

The tax agent quickly got the random audit to undertake the 125 audits and then stated that the only mistake that was made now was that the wrong date was on the SAR. They said this as the audits did not uncover any issues. Therefore, the tax agent claimed they had just made a little mistake of the wrong date 125 time – definitely not a reason to punish them.

Well the argument failed. The AAT said it was not just getting 125 date wrong, but was rather making 125 misrepresentations to the ATO about whether the required audit had been done, and the audits would have never been done if the ATO had not caught them.

The result, one banned tax agent. But at least they had a go at talking their way out of it… 

By Ken Mansell

As a stay at home Dad most of the week this is my way of pretending I am still the tax counsel of ASX and SEC listed companies, working at big 4 firms, working at the Federal Treasury, on the Henry Review and at Parliament House for the previous government.

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