Are you a member of a professional association?

As a member of a professional association, you normally need to meet specified admission criteria and:

  • have access to a professional library – for example, journals, newsletters or technical updates
  • be able to take part in decision-making that affects your profession – for example, to promote, encourage and develop the profession
  • have the right to vote at the association's meetings
  • be a recognised member of that professional association.

What is a professional association?

A professional association normally has the following characteristics:

  • its members practise in the association's listed profession
  • it sets its own admission requirements, including acceptable qualifications
  • it sets standards of practice and ethical conduct
  • it aims to maintain the standing of the profession as a whole, and often prescribes requirements for maintaining its members' professional skills and knowledge through continuing professional development
  • it has sufficient membership to be considered representative, but not necessarily solely representative, of the listed profession
  • it is a non-profit body
  • it has articles of association, by-laws or codes of conduct for its members
  • it can impose sanctions on members who break the association's rules.

What are uniform national registration requirements?

Uniform national registration requirements mean your professional association's registration requirements are the same in all states and territories.

Professional associations set the requirements and make sure that only suitably qualified people gain professional practitioner status.

Example: Not a member of a professional association

Nijah runs a naturopathy practice in Brisbane. She is not a member of a professional association representing naturopaths.

Nijah cannot provide GST-free services because:

  • there is no state or territory regulation covering naturopathy registration
  • she is not a member of a professional association.

Example: Non-national professional association

Evelyn is a herbalist and a member of a Northern Territory-based herbalist association with its own registration requirements.

As Evelyn is a member of a Territory-only based association, she is not a recognised professional and consequently her service is subject to GST unless she becomes a member of a nationally-based professional association.

Example: Not representative of the profession

Leroy is a specialist in a form of naturopathy and a member of a nationally-based professional association representing the specialist subgroup. The professional association has 15 members and all the practitioners of this specialist subgroup of naturopathy are members of this association.

With just 15 members, it is unlikely that the association would be considered representative of the naturopathy profession as a whole. As a member of this association, Leroy is not a recognised professional and cannot provide his services GST-free.

End of example
    Last modified: 22 May 2014QC 16264