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Last week - see 2008 TAXVINE 37 (29) (19 September 2008) - Member 2 wrote:

"How many agents have clients who know others who got thousands back and had lodged via etax? How come agents get dire threats all the time and try to do the right thing, by themselves and for clients only to lose the clients? I would like to meet this "somebody" as in "somebody told me".

I have always resisted pressure from clients to "do the same as last year" and refuse even to claim the $300 if they cannot at least give me some idea of what they actually spent. Am I a complete idiot? I must be, to be still doing this job!"

MEMBER1 responds:

"I know who “somebody told me” is. He is the unregistered tax agent who has been operating down the road from me for the last sixteen years. etax is great for him. In this time I have passed this information to the ATO, to National Deputy Commissioner level and to Senators and politicians. It appears that regulating the Financial Planning industry and prosecuting terrorists have a higher priority. After all these years, I have just given up."

MEMBER 2 responds:

"I agree that many good accountants lose clients to "someone told me that" and "they got back 000,000's" type of enquiries. But do not lose sight of the bigger picture, those clients are not worth having or risking your ethics and business for taking on the sort of claims some of these taxpayers' want to make. Keep up the good work and good ethics. I am glad I am not alone although sometimes I feel our office is alone on our high moral ground.
What we need is to encourage more accountants to refuse to do these sort of "claims without substantiation or justification", by providing a united front and giving the tax agent integrity board more power to prosecute both the client and their accountants that do this sort of poor quality work which encourages tax leakage that costs the rest of us more in the long run."

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