Unregistered advisers targeting property investors have caught the attention of the government regulators, and investors are being urged to take key steps to avoid dodgy operators.
Spruikers often use tax benefits as bait to secure customers. For example, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) - the government body that certifies professionals to give tax advice - has ongoing headaches with car salespeople giving unsolicited advice about the depreciation benefits of the vehicles they sell.
Ahead of some big cases being finalised in 2019, property spruikers using tax advice as a bargaining tool are on the government's radar, and the TPB is urging investors to take note of dodgy sales tactics.
“The TPB encourages all consumers of taxation services, including investors, to use registered tax practitioners by checking they are on the TPB register,” a spokesperson for the TPB told Smart Property Investment.
“If you are using a quantity surveyor for depreciation advice, they may also need to be registered with the TPB, for example, if they complete tax depreciation schedules for investment purposes. If you use an unregistered tax practitioner you are taking big risks,” the spokesperson said.
Using an unregistered tax practitioner is a risk for investors, because they are likely not giving accurate or appropriate advice, and many do not have the professional indemnity cover that registered tax practitioners are required to have.
Additionally, investors who use unregistered tax practitioners will not be afforded the protections included in the Taxation Administration Act 1953. These protections mean taxpayers may not be penalised for tax-based breaches, but they are only extended to clients of registered tax practitioners.