A woman who pretended to be a tax agent for four years has been fined $40,000 for unlawfully providing tax services.
Arlene Caolboy had advertised herself online as a registered tax agent, and received cash-in-hand income for providing tax services for the last four years.
The Federal Court of Australia handed down the fine on 30 October and blocked Caolboy from providing tax services for the next three years.
The woman’s actions were at the “serious end of the spectrum” given that her clients were at risk by having their tax affairs managed by someone who wasn’t qualified, said Justice Michael Wheelahan.
Caolboy admitted to all her contraventions and disclosed her client records, outlined the tax services she provided and the cash income she received for it to the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and the Australian Taxation Office.
Had she not cooperated, her penalty would have been higher, Wheelahan said.
TPB chair Ian Klug said he was “pleased” the Court appreciated the magnitude and seriousness of the rule-breaking.
“Ms Caolboy has clearly undermined the tax profession and system by misrepresenting to taxpayers that she was a registered agent,” he said.
“We believe the Court has reached an appropriate punishment for Caolboy’s misconduct. It is a clear message to any others providing tax agent services unlawfully that the TPB will take firm action.”
Customers choosing a tax agent should exercise care, Klug cautioned. He said taxpayers should always check to see if their agents are registered with the TPB Register. And if they don’t appear on the register, make a complaint to the TPB.
“We remind everyone that a registered tax agent would not look to lodge your return through your myGov account,” said Klug.
In early September, a Mount Druitt-based man was sentenced to 20 months behind bars for trying to scam $180,000 from the Commonwealth.
Hussain Nazeer was sentenced at the Sydney District Court on Friday 4 September for lodging fake income tax returns and amendments behind his clients’ backs.
On top of his jail sentence, Nazeer was ordered to pay $179,826.
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