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Accountants First Ltd withdraws appeal to keep tax agency status

The company of tax evader accountant Imran Mohammed Kamal has withdrawn its appeal of a Wellington High Court decision that it should lose its tax agency status.

The appeal by Accountants First Ltd was due to be heard in the Court of Appeal in Auckland in November, but was withdrawn shortly before the hearing's scheduled date. This means the company is no longer a tax agent and cannot promote itself as such.

Inland Revenue Deputy Commissioner, Service Delivery, Arlene White was pleased that the October 2014 High Court decision would stand and the matter had finally come to a conclusion.

"Tax agents play an important role in New Zealand's tax system by helping taxpayers to understand and meet their tax obligations," Ms White said. "Tax agents who are approved as such by Inland Revenue hold an elevated position of trust and are expected to model exemplary compliance behaviours."

Kamal was a key player in the high profile tax evasion case involving Brent Gilchrist, Scott Anderson, and Accountants First Ltd.

Following Kamal's and Accountants First Ltd's convictions in 2013, Inland Revenue decided to remove the company from its list of approved tax agents.

Inland Revenue considered that the company could not be trusted as a tax agent to comply with the law. Under the Tax Administration Act 1994 Inland Revenue can revoke a tax agent's status if the integrity of the tax system would be adversely affected.

Ms White said that the offending involved significant deception and dishonesty, including the creation of false invoices and money being paid overseas and channelled back to a bank account of Kamal's in Vanuatu.

"It is important that taxpayers can trust their tax agent, and in turn those companies and agents have a duty to uphold the integrity of the tax system.

"The New Zealand public can be confident that Inland Revenue will take action against tax agents who put the integrity of the tax system at risk and in this case removing the rights that Accountants First had as a tax agent was the appropriate action to take."

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