The next steps to take if you are unable to resolve an issue with an accountant or tax agent.
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ)(external link) for complaints against current and former members. Complaints may be handled by the Professional Conduct Committee, Disciplinary Tribunal and the Appeals Tribunal.
Accountants and Tax Agents Institute of New Zealand (ATAINZ)(external link) for complaints against accountants and tax agents who are current and former members and if you’re not happy with any outcome from your tax agent or accountant
CAANZ(external link) to make a complaint about the fees you were charged.
The Disputes Tribunal(external link) for fee disputes of up to $15,000 (or $20,000 if you both agree).
The Commerce Commission(external link) if you wish to report an accountant or tax agent for false or misleading conduct or statements under the Fair Trading Act.
The Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) can only handle complaints relating to a member accountant’s breach of the CAANZ’s Rules or Code of Ethics(external link). This includes complaints that your accountant has:
The PCC won’t investigate complaints if the complaint:
The Disciplinary Tribunal hears and determines disciplinary charges against CAANZ members.
The ATAINZ Disciplinary Committee can only handle complaints relating to a member accountant or a tax agent’s breach of their Code of Ethics and Rules(external link). This includes complaints similar in nature to those listed for chartered accountants above. ATAINZ does not handle complaints about fees.
The Disciplinary Committee won’t hear complaints that are frivolous, vexatious, or an abuse of process.
Please be aware that the accountant in question is usually entitled to retain your client information and records relating to the disputed fee until a fee dispute is resolved and the agreed fee paid.
The ATAINZ charges $100 to submit a complaint.
The PCC may decide to investigate your complaint. This would be a disciplinary hearing only. No damages (money) can be awarded to you to cover any losses. The PCC may rule that a consent order is issued in which case, if accepted, the accountant will:
The CAANZ and ATAINZ Appeals Councils may confirm, amend or reverse any decision made by the CAANZ Disciplinary Tribunal or the ATAINZ Disciplinary Committee. They may also make review decisions about costs.
For fee dispute, it may be cheaper to make a claim through the Disputes Tribunal rather than the CAANZ's Fee Resolution Service as you have to pay an initial $1,000 plus GST to bring a claim before the Fee Resolution Service.
The Dispute Tribunal does charge a fee for making a claim. The latest fees can be found on the Ministry of Justice website(external link).
Provides information on professional standards for chartered accountants, how to make a complaint and their disciplinary process.
Provides information on professional development for accountants and tax agents and how to make a complaint against one of their members.
Visit the website
Phone: 0508 282 469
Phone: 0508 ATAINZ
The Ministry of Justice website provides information on the Tribunal and how to apply.
Information about your local District Court can be found on the District Courts of New Zealand website.
Provides information on the Privacy Act and how to make complaints about breaches of the Act.
Visit the website(external link)
Phone: 0800 803 909