Show download pdf controls
  • Dishonest tax agents banned to ensure superannuation integrity

    Following an Australian Taxation Office (ATO) referral the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) has recently terminated the registration of 2 tax agents who prepared and lodged self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) annual returns with incorrect details about the funds’ annual audit.

    SMSFs are subject to annual audits to support the integrity of the system and protect members' retirement savings. The 2 tax agents falsely stated audits had been completed and were found to have acted dishonestly. They have been banned from practice as they no longer meet the tax practitioner registration requirement of being a fit and proper person.

    One of the tax agents lodged over 90 SMSF annual returns for more than 20 clients, including falsifying auditor details indicating that the funds had been audited. However, the auditor advised that they had not audited the funds. The tax agent was also found to have misled clients by advising them their SMSFs had been audited, and charging them for the audit, even though an audit had not been completed.  

    Justin Micale, Assistant Commissioner of the ATO’s SMSF Regulatory Branch, welcomed the TPB decisions as an important outcome that helps maintain the integrity of the SMSF regulatory regime.

    He stated, ‘The SMSF annual audit is a critical integrity check to ensure the validity and accuracy of an SMSF's financial statements and its compliance with superannuation legislation and regulations. The TPB decisions follow referral of intelligence from ATO compliance activity where we have worked with SMSF auditors to identify where their auditor numbers are being deliberately misused.’

    TPB Chair Mr Ian Klug AM said, ‘Our decisions reiterate the importance of the relationship between the TPB and the ATO in ensuring that tax practitioners maintain a strong level of integrity in their lodgement activities. Registered tax practitioners are in a privileged position of trust, and it is essential that they ensure their actions uphold the integrity of the tax and superannuation systems.

    The ATO will continue to work with auditors to identify instances where SMSF auditor number (SAN) misuse may have deliberately occurred. Where appropriate, referrals will be made to the TPB for further action to be considered.

    In October, the ATO will be sending client lists for the 2021–22 financial year to all SMSF auditors where they can report to the ATO the details of any funds where their SAN has been reported, but no audit activity has been undertaken.

    See also

    Keep up to date

    Last modified: 17 Oct 2022QC 70613