The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) recently hosted a webinar dealing with whistleblowing and confidentiality within the tax practitioner industry. The webinar — you can view a recording below (one hour CPD value) — explained a practitioner’s obligations in relation to confidentiality when making disclosures, situations that qualify for whistleblower protection and other options.

The new arrangements to protect individuals who disclose information on tax avoidance behaviour came into affect on 1 July this year.

While the webinar was being held, as well as immediately after, the TPB received many questions from participants regarding further aspects of the whistleblower regulations, eligibility for recipients of protection as well as other practical issues around the disclosure of information.

In the interests of tax agents and other practitioners generally, some of the more pertinent questions, along with the TPB’s answers, are reproduced below.

Whistleblowing and confidentiality: Q&A
I’m a tax agent and my client ignores my advice to act lawfully and instructs me to stop work. The client then engages a new tax agent. What can I do to inform the new tax agent?
You cannot disclose any information to the new tax agent. It will be for the new tax agent to ascertain whether the deductions claimed are lawful. You are, however, able to advise the ATO because you had a previous relationship with the client and may be eligible for whistleblower protections. This will not contravene the Code of Professional Conduct, in particular Code item 6, which relates to confidentiality of client information.  Readmore