The complete definition of the Tax Agents Services Act 2009 (Cth)

Tax agents in Australia provide a wide range of services, including drafting and lodging returns, notifications, applications, statements, or notices as part of their statutory duty. Furthermore, tax agents, like any other industry, are subject to laws and regulations. The Tax Agents Services Act 2009 will be outlined in the following Business Kitz blog, if including information about tax law and regulations.

What is the Tax Agents Services Act 2009?

The Tax Agents Services Act 2009 (Cth) (“the Act”) ensures that tax agent services are provided by appropriate professional and ethical standards. Additionally, the Act specifies who is eligible to enrol as a registered tax agent or BAS agent, as well as the proper behaviour and processes for agents.

What are the 5 key features?

The Tax Agents Services Act 2009 governs:

  1. A code of professional conduct ensures tax agents and BAS agents are honest and work with integrity, confidentiality, and fair competence. Section 30.10 of the Tax Agents Services Act of 2009 lists these considerations.
  2. Rules regarding the creation and regulation of an ethical national Board of registered tax agents and BAS agents.
  3. Guidelines and disciplinary measures, including civil sanctions and injunctions to replace current criminal punishments for specific tax agents and unauthorised entity activities. 
  4. The formation of a nationwide Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).
  5. A “safe harbour” to protect taxpayers from tax deficit penalties resulting from making false or misleading representations provided.

How is the Tax Agents Services Act 2009 implemented?

The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) is an independent statutory organisation that regulates tax agent services. Their key functions are:

  • To administrate the registration of BAS agents and tax agents.
  • To investigate registered applications for possible Code of Conduct violations.
  • Implementing administrative penalties for noncompliance.

Your registration may be suspended or revoked if the Tax Practitioners Board discovers that you have violated the Code and issues you a formal warning. Likewise, if you no longer meet the registration criteria, you must notify the Board.

What is a BAS agent?

The term BAS Agent refers to a fully licensed and registered professional who assists with BAS services. As outlined by the ATO, a BAS agent is responsible for business activities statements such as GST, PAYG withholding tax, and other taxes. Agents are obligated to ensure they are updated with regulatory changes and maintain a currency of knowledge, through frequent professional education.

What are the requirements to become a BAS tax agent?

Not everyone can be a BAS tax agent, as to become a registered BAS agent you must achieve specific qualifying criteria, including qualifications and relevant experience requirements. To start this registration process a company, individual or partnership must apply to the TPB as these registration processes differ from one another.

The following outlines the process of tax agent registration:

  • Individual registration: an individual is qualified to prepare income tax returns and conduct tax-related activities on behalf of the taxpayer, and they have the necessary expertise and education.
  • In partnership: each partner is a fit and proper individual, who has not been involved in bankruptcy. The partnership has enough licensed tax agents to deliver and manage professional tax agent services.
  • Company: the firm is not managed by a third party and each of the directors is a suitable individual. The organisation has enough registered tax agents to supply and manage professional tax agent services.

Registration is valid for three years from the date it is approved. Tax agents are able to re-register themselves every three years, and the re-registration requirements are usually the same as for initial registration.

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