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Editor’s note: Senior Tax Counsel Bob Deutsch’s comments on ethics and tax law can be found in TaxVine 44 (17 November 2017). 

MEMBER 268 writes: 

It’s been interesting to read the recent discussion on ethics. We have lodged a complaint about non-payment of fees by a solicitor to the relevant State Law Society. The Professional Standards section have come back and said they only consider complaints about provision of legal services. 

Not paying your creditors is in my view theft. This is a serious matter of unethical behaviour. We have lodged complaints about tax agents not paying their creditors to the Tax Practitioners Board as well as to another professional association and await their reply. In one case we have issued a notice under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the time limit has expired. Therefore this practice company is probably deemed to be trading while insolvent. 

Luckily none of these are members of The Tax Institute. If you want to protect the ethical standards of a profession, members must pay their debts as they fall due and not trade while insolvent. 

You also are required to lodge your income tax returns on time and pay your income tax when it is due. Recently the public was horrified when professionals declared bankruptcy to avoid paying their tax debts and continued to practice. 

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