TPB signals focus on professional standards

The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) has revealed it has around 400 current investigations into tax practitioners across Australia, as the Federal Court upholds its decision in an appeal by former tax agent, Philip Ham, to ban him from registration.

The TPB rejected a renewal application for registration by Ham, on the basis that his conduct was “inconsistent with the qualities of moral soundness, uprightness and honesty that one would expect of a tax agent”.

This followed a former client suing Ham for breaching his fiduciary obligations after deriving millions of dollars from the sale of land in which his former client had an interest, for which he was later disciplined by his professional association and was excluded membership. He failed to disclose this to the TPB.

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Justice Logan upheld a decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to uphold the banning on Friday, following appeals by Ham to both bodies. Logan did so on the basis that Ham was not a “fit and proper person”.

TPB chair, Ian Taylor, said that the decision confirmed the high ethical and professional standards expected of tax practitioners.

He warned that the TPB was cracking down on those breaching these standards, saying that doing so was “particularly important following ATO research linking some tax practitioners with overclaimed deductions, tax avoidance and evasion”.

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