If you are a tax agent or intermediary, you play an important role in administering the tax system.
Our relationship with you is very important. The advice and assistance you give your clients will significantly influence their tax compliance.
Because of this we, and the New Zealand public, trust you to uphold the integrity of the tax system.
Declining a tax agent application or removing an existing agent from the tax agent list
We may decline an application from someone wanting to be a tax agent, or remove an existing agent from the tax agent list if we think that person poses a risk to the integrity of the tax system. This includes the listed tax agent or key office holder.
Some of the issues we may consider include (but are not limited to):
- criminal offending
- dishonest behaviour
- failure to comply with personal tax obligations
- breaching client confidentiality
- serious or repeated performance issues.
We will work with you to sort out any issues affecting your ability to be a tax agent, but we can decide to refuse registration or remove your agent status if we consider you pose a risk. Any steps we take will follow the Tax Administration Act 1994.
Mikaere has been a tax agent for 15 years with a growing client base. She has always provided an excellent service to her clients.
She recently broke up with her partner, and as part of the division of relationship property she bought her ex-partner’s share in their family home. This has placed tremendous financial pressure on her. As a result, she has not paid an amount of income tax for the past tax year despite the due date passing.
Mikaere has frequent catch-ups with her account manager. At the most recent catch-up her account manager asks her about the debt. She explains her circumstances - she cannot pay the debt immediately, but understands the importance of meeting her tax obligations, especially as she is a tax agent.
Mikaere contacts us and applies for an instalment arrangement to pay the debt off over time. She follows the instalment arrangement, and over time the debt is paid off completely.
We take any risk to the integrity of the tax system seriously. The non-payment of tax by tax agents themselves is a risk. However, considering the steps Mikaere has taken to pay off her debt (including meeting the instalment arrangement), we do not consider that she poses a sufficient risk to justify removing her as an agent.
John applies to be a tax agent after resigning from his role in an accounting firm 6 months ago.
We find out that he is being investigated for dishonest behaviour in this role. The police have received a complaint that John misdirected clients’ tax refunds into his personal bank account.
John is later prosecuted and found guilty.
We take criminal offending very seriously. We notify John of our decision to refuse him as a tax agent and give him 30 days to provide further information before we finalise our decision. He does not respond and we decline his request to be an agent.
Approved advisor groups
Approved advisor groups give tax advice and follow a certain code of conduct. We approve these groups if they meet the requirements under section 20B(5) of the Tax Administration Act 1994.
Organisations with approved advisor group status:
- The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
- Accountants and Tax Agents Institute of New Zealand
- CPA Australia
- Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
- Institute of Certified NZ Bookkeepers
- New Zealand Qualified Bookkeepers Association.
Tax advisors in approved advisor groups can claim the right of non-disclosure on behalf of a taxpayer.