Refund from Tax Agent for Not Doing Tax Return

I was looking for a tax agent for doing my partner's tax return. I got a tax Agent's contact from Gumtree and got in touch with him.
He send me the details and told me that his payment needs to be done prior to anything. (There were no terms and conditions since it was just a text message).

So I ended up transferring him the money. The last Sunday he called us up to discuss the tax return and came up with an unrealistic figure. He definitely sounded dodgy/unprofessional. I wasn't comfortable in pursuing with his service, so I told him not to continue.

Then, when I asked him to refund me, he told me that he can't do it since he "opened up a file for her". I asked where had he mentioned that for which he said he's telling me the terms and conditions now (verbally).

Okay, I understand he could have spent some time setting it up and all, but there isn't any chance for even a portion of the money to be refunded? I thought it was very unfair. I don't mind forgetting about this money if this is the common practice.

After this exchange, he sent me a receipt too as per my request. How do I go about with this?? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Update: Thanks for the feedback guys. I understand that there is no reason in keeping this thread alive since everyone is pointing to the same direction. Cheers

closed Comments

  • The question I have is why did you get someone off gumtree when they’re are heaps of reputable online services?

    • Seemed approachable and reputed to me at that time. My last tax agent was not working anymore.

  • I wasn't comfortable in pursuing with his service, so I told him not to continue.

    Then, when I asked him to refund me

    Services work the same as goods - you have no entitlement to refunds for change of mind.

    Though seriously, tax agent off gumtree who quotes you prices via text to be paid in advance? Literally every part of that screams dodgy.

  • He's obviously done some work to get your expected tax refund figure.

    Is was your choice to use a random person on Gumtree (FFS, this is your tax and personal information that you're sending to a random person online!) and then it was your choice to not proceed further with the completion of the agreed work.

    Why would you expect a refund?

    • "Completion of the agreed work" - No work was completed since it wasn't filed. The only thing he did was grabbing me a quote which many tax agents do without prior payments.

      • Read the entire sentence:

        your choice to not proceed further with the completion of the agreed work.

        You decided not to go ahead. You don't get a refund.

      • No work was completed

        How do you think they got your expected return figure? They had to do something! For a simple tax return, inputting all the information and generating that expected figure is already the bulk of the work. "Submitting" it is the easy part at the end that involves pressing a few buttons.

        PS You should feel lucky to even get an invoice from a gumtree operator after cancelling. At least if it's a proper tax invoice, you can claim the cost as a deduction in your tax return next year!

  • Claim it on your tax next year.

  • Who finds some random to do tax on gumtree and pays him in advance after just some text messages?

  • Is your Gumtree Tax Agent registered? Tax Practitioners Board

    he called us up to discuss the tax return and came up with an unrealistic figure

    What does this mean? Why do you think the figure is unrealistic?

    • It seemed very low at the point since I was quoted way higher by other tax agents. I had an impression that he wants me to pay him higher so that the ultimate offset can be reached.

      • Are you talking about the fee or the tax refund amount?

        • Tax Refund amount seemed very low when he quoted.

          • @nansnake: So you're saying he is dodgy because the tax refund amount is less than what other tax agents are quoting?

            A dodgy agent is more likely to inflate your return amount. Not under quote..

            • @dasher86: I had a rough estimate in my mind which included the 1080. And I wasn't ready to negotiate with him because of the dishonest nature.

              • @nansnake: Is 1080 the low to middle income tax offset?

                If she only earns a low/middle income and doesn't have a business or investment property why aren't you doing mytax? It's really simple.

              • @nansnake: Who negotiates a tax return?

                You should be reviewing with the tax agent and asking questions if you think your return isn't high enough.

              • @nansnake: You don't negotiate with someone doing your tax return. You are entitled to receive or pay a certain amount, depending on how much tax you payed, any offsets, and any deductions.

  • It seemed very low at the point since I was quoted way higher by other tax agents. I had an impression that he wants me to pay him higher so that the ultimate offset can be reached.

  • You paid, he sent reciept …

    If you found him on GumTree you would have paid about $100 (not thousands) so it's not a massive loss …

    Getting into the details though, by unrealistic figure:

    If high and he's a registered tax agent and doing your taxes through his license, you have nothing to lose, he's taking the risk and if it's wrong you just say "he's my accountant, I don't know tax laws, that's why I paid him"

    If it's unrealisticaly low, he's just lazy and not looking for any deductions (income vs payG rates = return)

  • The result of your tax return has absolutely nothing to do with the tax agent.

    The final product is the report, not the lodgement. You can choose not to lodge it if you disagree. Ask for the report, review it and then decide.

    Where do people come up with this nonsense.

  • I wouldn't even use Gumtree to find a handyman, never mind using it to find a tax agent.

    Too much risk that the handyman/tax agent will turn out to some type of criminal.

    The only thing Gumtree should be used for, is buying/selling small items. Even then, you meet the other person in some well-lit place where there's other people around and do the transaction cash-only.

  • I have assumed a few things based on my decades of doing tax returns. I will try and give you the other side of the story in situations similar to this (not necessarily your circumstances)

    Sometimes, the client is unhappy with their estimated tax refund and believe they can get higher. Most of the time, they have perhaps been "quoted higher by other tax agents".

    These tax agents may or may not invoice you for an estimate of your tax refund? If you are shopping around to get the best refund and keep declining the tax agent's work when the refund is low, the tax agent ends up spending time on a return and not recouping costs for the service.

    Therefore, it may be perfectly normal for someone to charge you an upfront fee for the first year of service. After the first year, once the relationship has been established, it would be best practice to charge after the work has been completed.

    OK now the most important part. You are liable for anything that is lodged in your income tax return. A Tax Agent getting you a bigger refund does not necessarily mean that they are better than a tax agent getting you a lower return. The equation is simple, more deductions equals bigger refund. The risk to substantiate these deductions is on the client, not the tax agent.

    :)

  • Beggars belief.

  • He definitely sounded dodgy/unprofessional

    From some random you found on Gumtree? No way!

  • Waiting for the next thread…
    "Tax return resulted in a bill, tax agent still charged for service"

    Outrageous!

  • I believe we may have just reached peak 'huh…. really?'

  • People need to stop confusing the terms 'return' and 'refund' when talking about taxes.