A Sydney-based tax agent has had her registration terminated by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), after it found she submitted 43 JobKeeper applications without her clients’ permission.
A referral from the tax office prompted the TPB to investigate Maricar Santos Rosauro’s activities and it found she had engaged in serious misconduct, including multiple breaches of the tax agents’ code of conduct.
The TPB found Rosauro failed to obtain permission from her clients before submitting more than 100 business activity statements (BAS) and 43 JobKeeper applications on their behalf.
As a result of these applications, the tax agent received $550,000 of government funds on trust, which she then used for her personal and business expenses.
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The TPB said in a statement its investigation confirmed Rosauro also failed to declare information to the tax office, meet her own lodgement and payment obligations, and had misused the MyGov platform to assume the identity of her clients.
As a result, Rosauro received the maximum five-year ban, prohibiting her from practicing as a registered tax agent until 2026.
Ian Klug, chair of the TPB, acknowledged the decision, saying the former tax agent jeopardised her clients and the overall integrity of the taxation system.
“The TPB acknowledges that the initial introduction of the COVID stimulus measures presented a difficult time for tax practitioners and their clients,” Klug said.
“Tax practitioners, however, hold a significant position of trust to assist in administering the COVID stimulus measures.”
To date, the TPB has terminated six practitioners for misconducted related to COVID stimulus payments, while seven practitioners have had their registration suspended.
The TPB said it is actively investigating 99 COVID compliance cases, with conduct ranging from practitioner error, to reckless or fraudulent claims made either for themselves or on behalf of their clients.
According to AccountantsDaily, the Australian Tax Office has not indicated if it will seek charges in this case. The first criminal conviction for JobKeeper fraud was handed out in February to an individual who falsely claimed he was running a business.
SmartCompany has contacted Maricar Rosauro for comment.