The ACCC has also joined Taxsmart’s sole director, Mr Scott Andrews, and Taxsmart’s Business Development Manager, Ms Janine Andrews, to the proceedings. The ACCC alleges they aided, abetted, counselled or procured and were directly or indirectly knowingly concerned in Taxsmarts’ contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law.
The ACCC alleges that Taxsmart made false representations and/or that Taxsmart did not have reasonable grounds for making these representations. The ACCC alleges that these representations claimed that:
- its graduate program would satisfy the legal requirements for registration as a tax agent;
- graduates would be employed for a period of 12 months;
- graduates would receive one on one mentoring and supervision from a registered tax agent;
- it had established offices in the cities in which employment positions were advertised; and
- at least 50 per cent of its clients in its relevant offices were business clients.
“These graduate accountants were people with tertiary accounting qualifications keen to obtain the experience needed to become registered as tax agents.
We allege they were induced to pay significant sums up front, on the unfulfilled promise they would receive this experience to obtain registration and operate a Taxsmart franchise,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.
“All employers, small or large, need to make accurate representations about the terms of employment and ensure they have a reasonable basis when making representations as to future expectations.”
The ACCC is seeking:
- declarations and injunctions;
- compensation orders and non-party redress orders;
- pecuniary penalties;
- a disqualification order (in relation to Mr Andrews);
- orders for corrective letters to be sent;
- findings of fact and costs.