New laws herald fresh era in tax and BAS practice

The key legislative provisions underpinning the new regime for tax and BAS agent registration commenced on 1 March 2010. The regime aims to lift standards in the profession, ensuring that tax agent and BAS services are provided to high levels of professional and ethical conduct.

Snapshot of the Tax Agent Services regime

  • One national regulatory body, replacing the six state Tax Agents' Boards. The national Tax Practitioners Board has responsibility for registering tax and BAS agents, as well as ensuring that agents maintain appropriate skills and knowledge, and investigates unregistered entities which hold themselves out to be agents.
  • A Code of Professional Conduct legislated for the first time. Registered agents are legally bound to adhere to the Code.
  • The new regime allows the Board to act more quickly to protect those who use the services of a tax or BAS agent when their agent acts unlawfully.
  • The Board has a range of remedies it can pursue, including applying for an injunction from the Federal Court. If granted, it requires agents to cease providing services.
  • The Board can apply to the Federal Court for a civil penalty order (a financial penalty) to be imposed on an agent.
  • Criminal penalties no longer exist under the new legislation, although criminal penalties still exist under the Taxation Administration Act 1953. This change does not dilute the purpose of the legislation, rather it recognises that the imposition of a significant financial penalty is an effective and appropriate way of deterring agents from contravening the civil penalty provisions.

For more information visit the Tax Practitioners Board's website Link

    Last modified: 04 Aug 2010QC 28250