Bookkeepers and tax professionals
One of your earliest business decisions should be whether you want to look after your invoicing, paying and record-keeping yourself or whether you want to pay a bookkeeper or registered agent to do all or part of this work. This decision will affect how you set up your systems. Some common business activities you may be required to perform are:
- issuing invoices and paying your own bills
- making wages and super payments
- preparing cash books (paper or electronic)
- preparing activity statements
- preparing tax returns
- preparing financial accounts, for example profit and loss statements and balance sheets.
If you decide to engage professional help, ask what record-keeping system is best for you.
- Only registered tax agents are entitled to charge you a fee for preparing tax returns. They may also prepare notices or statements and provide you with taxation advice.
- Only registered tax agents and BAS agents are entitled to charge you a fee for preparing activity statements.
Remember, regardless of who records and reports information, you are still legally responsible for the accuracy of the information.
Bookkeepers provide a range of accounting services for employers or clients and may be responsible for tasks and functions such as:
- data entry
- petty cash
- record keeping
- reconciling bank accounts
- accounts payable and receivable.
Bookkeepers cannot charge you to prepare and lodge activity statements or tax returns unless they are also registered as BAS agents or tax agents with the Tax Practitioner Board (TPB). However, if your bookkeeper is your paid employee they may do this work for you and do not need to be registered.
Registered tax or BAS agents
Tax agents give advice and services on all tax and super issues, including lodging your tax returns. BAS agents provide advice and services on the following tax and super issues:
- fuel tax
- luxury car tax
- wine equalisation tax
- fringe benefits tax (collection and recovery only)
- pay as you go (PAYG) withholding
- PAYG instalments.
Agents must follow strict regulations that ensure they act in a professional manner. We cannot recommend specific agents, so make sure you ask the agent about their fees and their expertise with the type of service you need, before you decide who to use.
You may want to engage a bookkeeper or registered BAS agent or tax agent to set up your record-keeping system or to do your bookwork and tax returns for you. Remember, these costs are generally a tax deduction for your business.