Do you provide tax advice or services?
Even if you occasionally provide tax advice as part of your wider client service, you could now be classified as providing a tax agent service. Under the new Tax Agent Services Act 2009 anyone providing a tax agent service for a fee or other reward must register with the Tax Practitioners Board. This does not apply to employees of partnerships, companies or other organisations.
The transitional application registration option for tax agents expires 31 August 2010. Don't delay. Think about whether you need to register and if you do, apply to the Board.
What is a tax agent service?
A tax agent service is where you provide your client with services or advice about their tax liabilities, obligations or entitlements on which they rely, or when you represent them in their dealings with the Commissioner of Taxation.
A tax agent service that is required by a client could include:
- preparing or lodging your client's return, notice, statement, application or other document about a taxpayer's liabilities, obligations or entitlements under a taxation law
- preparing or lodging tax or other tax obligations on behalf of your client
- giving a taxpayer advice about a taxation law
- dealing with the Commissioner of Taxation on behalf of your client.
I don't consider myself to be a tax agent, but could I still be providing a tax agent service?
The tax agent services regime regulates a broad range of professionals who provide a tax agent service that extends beyond the traditional model or perception of a tax agent. Specialists such as R&D consultants, quantity surveyors and those operating in limited areas of practice are just some examples of the types of providers who may now be required to register with the Board.
If you are a specialist, you can gain registration that you may not previously have qualified for.
Why do I need to register?
It's important to register so that you can continue to operate your business and legally provide tax agent services to your clients. Your clients will also have greater assurance that you meet the qualification and experience requirements, and operate under the Code of Professional Conduct.
By registering, you will avoid the risk of financial penalties which can be imposed if you provide a tax agent service without being registered. Penalties of up to $27,500 for individuals and $137,500 for partnerships or companies can be imposed for each breach.
How much does it cost to register as a tax agent?
Registration fees for tax agents (including conditional tax agent registration) are:
- $500 – for a tax agent who carries on a business as a tax agent
- $250 – for a tax agent who does not carry on a business as a tax agent.
How do I register?
The simplest way to register is to submit an application for tax agent transitional registration by 31 August 2010. You can use this method if you have been providing a tax agent service to a competent standard and for a reasonable period before the new law began on 1 March 2010.
When you apply for transitional registration:
- you will be registered for at least three years from the day the Board decides on your application.
- individuals do not need to meet qualification and experience requirements to make this type of application at this stage, although you will need to show that you have been providing services to a competent standard and for a reasonable period (two years full time)
- partnerships and companies do not need to meet sufficient number of individuals requirements before they apply, at this stage, using the transitional registration option.
Don't delay, submit your application today. For more information go to the Tax Practitioners Board website