New Tax Agent Services Regime commenced 1 March 2010 - do you need to register?

This regime will affect all tax and BAS agents providing tax agent or BAS services. This includes, but is not limited to persons providing tax advice, ascertaining tax liabilities, entitlements or obligations and representing clients in dealings with the Commissioner. This will affect accountants, bookkeepers and some lawyers.

The new regime is intended to ensure that tax agent services and BAS services provided to taxpayers are of an appropriate standard.

Some of the key legislative elements of the new regulatory regime are summarised below.

The Tax Agent Services Act 2009 provides for:

• The establishment of the new national Tax Practitioners Board
• a legislated Code of Professional Conduct to govern the provision of tax agent and BAS services
• a wider range of disciplinary sanctions which may be imposed by the Board
• registration and regulation of tax agents and BAS agents and
• a 'safe harbour' for taxpayers from penalties who use tax agents or BAS agents in certain circumstances.

The Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009 provide:

• requirements for registration as a tax agent and a BAS agent
• definitions and requirements for recognition as a recognised tax agent association and recognised BAS agent association and
• fees for registration.

It is essential that all tax practitioners and BAS agents understand the new regime and the impact it will have on them.

Do you need to register?

For tax agents, the answer to this question will depend on whether they are providing “tax agent services”.

A “tax agent service” includes, but is not limited to:

• preparing or lodging a return, notice, statement, application or other document about a taxpayer’s liabilities, obligations or entitlements under a taxation law;
• preparing or lodging on behalf of a taxpayer an objection against an assessment, determination, notice or decision under a taxation law;
• applying to the Commissioner for a review of, or instituting an appeal against, a decision on an objection;
• giving a taxpayer advice about a taxation law that the taxpayer can reasonably be expected to rely upon to satisfy their taxation obligations; and
• dealing with the Commissioner on behalf of a taxpayer.

If you are providing tax agent services it is time to consider the new regime in detail.

Do you meet the registration requirements?

To be eligible to register, an entity must satisfy:

• a fit and proper person test; and
• prescribed qualification and education requirements.

If you wish to discuss the new Tax Agent Services Regime, please contact Warwick Gilbertson at Turnbull Hill Lawyers on
4904 8000 or send him an email.


Author: Warwick Gilbertson

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