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Tax agents: Beware of “administrative overpayments” added to your RBA


The Commissioner has recently debited tax agents’ running balance accounts (RBAs) with tax refund payments received by agents on behalf of their clients. It is alleged that the refunds can be recovered as amounts that the Commissioner “paid to a person by mistake” pursuant to s 8AAZN of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth). The practice is insupportable. First, the wrong RBA is debited. The client, not the tax agent, is the “person” to whom tax refunds are paid. Second, the Commissioner rarely makes mistakes when paying tax refunds. Refunds are paid automatically and entitlement derives from self-assessment. Australia’s only two s 8AAZN authorities have upheld these propositions.

Author profile

Dr John Glover
Photo of author, John GLOVER John is a barrister practising in the fields of taxation, trusts and superannuation who has appeared in state and federal courts at all levels. He is also a professor in the Graduate School of School of Business & Law at RMIT University. Professor Glover is the sole author of three books as well as over 60 book chapters and articles in refereed law journals on taxation law, equity and trusts and is a co-author of Ford & Lee: The Law of Trusts. In the 2016-2017 year, Professor Glover worked full time for the Australian Taxation Office examining the relation between the Australian tax system and discretionary trusts linked to high net worth individuals. - Current at 27 October 2020
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