Criminal convictions and a lack of transparency have seen a tax agent deregistered and banned from practicing, after he fought to overturn the industry body’s decision to stop him from practicing.
The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) revoked the registration of Ranjit Dadwal, who had worked as a tax agent since March 2011, after finding that he had past criminal convictions and failed to disclose these as part of his annual declarations.
The convictions relate to convictions on three counts of indecent assault and a 15-year listing on the Register for Sex Offenders.
Because these convictions were not actually related to professional misconduct, Mr Dadwal sought to overturn the ban in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
However, the AAT upheld the original ruling, together with a two-year moratorium on him reapplying for registration.
In its judgement, the AAT found that “even if a person's behaviour does not involve professional misconduct, it may still demonstrate qualities that would lead to a conclusion they are not a fit and proper person” to work within the industry.
The TPB noted that the tribunal recognised Mr Dadwals “reluctance to take responsibility for his lack of candour, honesty and integrity” when dealing with not just itself as a professional body, but also with the police and the Tax Office.
This behaviour, as well as the “serious criminal conduct”, meant that Mr Dadwal “presented a risk to the reputation of the profession of registered tax agents”.
“It is useful to have the tribunal affirm that the TPB may consider misconduct by a tax practitioner, whether personal or professional, to determine if they meet the ‘fitness and propriety’ test under the TASA,” Tax Practitioners Board chair Ian Taylor said.
“Tax practitioners should also be aware the board takes very seriously any false statements made by practitioners in their annual declarations to the board, or in any interactions with other regulatory bodies.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.