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Looking for a BAS or Tax Agent? Look for the registered agent symbol first!

Recently the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) (governing body for BAS & Tax Agents) released a special symbol or logo to all BAS and Tax Agents to use on websites and stationery etc. The logo is an official mark that indicates to the public that their BAS or Tax Agent is registered with the TPB and can therefore legally provide BAS and/or Tax services for a fee.

 

Why a logo?

The release of the logo is an important step in helping to educate the community about the legalities of using registered and non-registered persons to process their BAS and other compliance tasks. The rules of registration are quite simple:

  • Bookkeepers who are not registered BAS Agents, cannot provide BAS Services for a fee (here is a list of BAS Services) (also see our blog about the difference between BAS services and bookkeeping services)
  • BAS Agents cannot provide Tax Agent services e.g. preparing and lodging tax returns (here is a list of Tax Agent Services). BAS Agents can only provide BAS Services as per above.
  • Practitioners who are providing either BAS and/or Tax Services for a fee and are not registered with the TPB are breaking the law!

What are the risks if I use a non-registered agent?

If your agent is not registered you and your business are not protected, it’s as simple as that. This person may not be qualified or have the required experience to perform BAS or Tax Services. Also, he or she may not be covered by Professional Indemnity Insurance. This means that you are not covered legally if this agent makes mistakes and if he or she isn’t qualified or experienced, there’s a big chance that errors will be made.

In addition to this, use of a non-registered agent means that you will not be protected by Safe Harbour provisions. Safe Harbour provisions (set out in the Taxation Administration Act 1953) protect taxpayers from possible penalties via the ATO, especially where an agent is responsible for:

  • failing to lodge a document on time (e.g. BAS, income tax return)
  • making false or misleading statements which result in an underpayment of tax

How do I know if my agent is registered?

Business owners wanting to be sure that their bookkeeper or Tax Agent is registered with the TPB (and can therefore legally provide BAS or Tax services) should look for the TPB registered agent symbol or logo. This is what is looks like (this is our logo):

Display of this logo on practitioners’ websites and stationery will give you confidence that you are dealing with a registered agent who is not only operating legally but is appropriately qualified and experienced. You can also check the registered agent register on the TPB website if you still aren’t sure.

 

As a BAS Agent, I am very happy that the TPB have given agents their own special logo. The logo is a symbol that helps to educate the public about the difference between registered and non-registered agents. It will also assist the public to protect themselves and their businesses by only engaging registered agents to deal with their taxation compliance.