The main objective of Tax Agent Services Act 2009 is to ensure that tax agent services are provided to the public in accordance with appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct.
If you are considering becoming a tax agent or would like to know more about tax law, LawPath has access to networks of taxation lawyers that can provide expert legal guidance on all tax law related matters.
How is this achieved?
In order to ensure accessibility to these ‘ethical’ agents, the Act states that it will provide a national Board to register tax agents and BAS agents, a Code of Professional Conduct for registered tax agents and BAS agents, and a guideline for disciplinary measures for registered tax agents and BAS agents.
What is an agent?
In accordance with the Act, “registered tax agents and BAS agents [refers] to entities that are registered under this Act as registered BAS agents”.
Confused? You’re not alone. Simply put, a tax agent is a person who prepares the returns of income required to be filed for 10 or more taxpayers and is one of the following:
- A practitioner carrying on a professional public practice
- A person carrying on a business or occupation in which returns of income are prepared
Note: A tax agent can be an individual, partnership or company
Professional conduct – maintaining an ethical standard
The code of professional conduct ensures that the actions of these tax agent’s are regulated and meet the standards set out within the code – specifically administering their personal and professional conduct as a registered tax agent or BAS agent.
When assessing the agents conduct against the code, the Act looks at factors such as honesty, integrity, Independence, confidentiality, competence and other responsibilities.
These factors can be found in section 30.10 of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009.
Code in action
If the Board investigates you and finds that you have failed to comply with the Code, the Board may give you a written caution, order you to take specified actions, or suspend or terminate your registration.
You must also notify the Board if certain circumstances change, including if you cease to meet the requirements for registration.
Eligibility to become a registered tax or BAS agent
The Act not only sets out the correct behaviour and procedure for the agents, it also states the eligibility for registration as a registered tax agent or BAS agent.
Note: Eligibility can be found in section 20.5.
- Must be 18+
- Must be a fit and proper person that meets the requirements prescribed by the regulations in the respective registration procedure.
The entity must meet the aforementioned elements in the individual section. In the case of the partner being a company, it must not be under external administration; and not have been convicted of a serious taxation offence or an offence involving fraud or dishonesty during the previous 5 years.
Each director must fulfil the elements in the individual section.
Must not be under external administration and have not been convicted of a serious taxation offence or an offence involving fraud or dishonesty during the previous 5 years.
In order to provide tax agent services for a fee or engage in any other activities that may be related, you must be registered. If you do meet the eligibility requirements and apply to the Tax practitioners board, you will be registered for a period of at least 3 years.
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