Who needs to register?
 

If you provide tax agent services for a fee or other reward, you must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) unless an exemption applies to you. 

There are severe penalties for anyone providing tax agent services for a fee or reward, advertising tax agent services or representing as a registered tax agent while unregistered.

Check if I qualify

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Services

Tax agent services relate to:

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working out or advising about liabilities, obligations or entitlements of clients under a taxation law, or

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representing entities in their dealings with the Commissioner of Taxation,

 

where the client can be reasonably expected to rely on the service to satisfy liabilities or obligations, or to claim entitlements, under a taxation law.

Tax agent services include BAS services and tax (financial) advice services. 

For further information and examples of services visit Tax agent services.

Registration exemptions

There are limited situations where you do not need to register as a tax agent. These include if you are:

  • an employee or contractor of a registered tax agent and you do not provide tax agent services in your own right. However, if you are working for a registered company or partnership tax agent, the company or partnership might need you (as an individual) to be registered so that it has a sufficient number of registered individual tax agents

  • a registered qualified tax relevant provider (QTRP) with ASIC

  • a company or partnership providing tax (financial) advice services and you ensure every individual providing tax (financial) advice services on your behalf is registered either as a QTRP or a tax agent

  • a legal practitioner and you:

    • are not prohibited from providing tax agent services under a State or Territory law that regulates legal practice and the provision of legal services, and

    • do not prepare and lodge returns or return like statements*, except in the course of acting for a trust or deceased estate as trustee or legal personal representative.

*Note: Return like statements include business activity statements, instalment activity statements, superannuation guarantee statements and pay as you go withholding payment summary or income statements.

There are also certain services which are specifically excluded from the definition of a tax agent service, and you do not need to be registered to provide these services. For a full list of these specified services refer to section 26 of the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2022.

Transitional arrangement for tax (financial) advisers 

Transitional arrangements apply if you were registered as a tax (financial) adviser as at 31 December 2021 and you are not a relevant provider with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Under this transitional arrangement, you can legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee or other reward until 31 December 2022 without being registered as a tax agent.  

For further information refer to Frequently asked questions – Single disciplinary body for financial advisers.

Wholesale advisers 

If you are not a financial adviser (for example, you provide advice to wholesale clients only), you will need to consider registering as a tax agent (individual, company or partnership) with the TPB to legally provide tax (financial) advice services from 1 January 2023. 

For further information refer to Registration options for wholesale advisers.

Penalties for unregistered conduct

The civil penalty provisions in the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 prohibit certain conduct while unregistered. The Federal Court can impose severe penalties for breach of these civil penalty provisions. These are summarised in the table below:

Conduct prohibited without tax agent registration

Penalties

Providing tax agent services for a fee or reward

  • Up to $55,500 for an individual

  • Up to $277,500 for a body corporate.

Advertising tax agent services 

  • Up to $11,100 for an individual

  • Up to $55,500 for a body corporate.

Representing as a registered tax agent

  • Up to $11,100 for an individual

  • Up to $55,500 for a body corporate.

For further information refer to Civil penalty provisions for tax agents.

For Consumers

Check registration

To check if a tax agent is registered:

Benefits of using a registered tax agent

Registration ensures that tax agents:

  • have the qualifications and experience required to provide tax agent services

  • meet our fit and proper requirements

  • have appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover to protect consumers.

Additionally, under the safe harbour provisions in the Taxation Administration Act 1953, you may not be liable to some administrative penalties imposed by the Australian Taxation Office in certain circumstances if you use a registered tax agent.

If anyone provides BAS services for a fee or other reward, they must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) unless an exemption applies to you.

There are severe penalties for anyone providing BAS services for a fee or reward or advertising BAS services while unregistered.

Check if I qualify

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Services

BAS services relate to:

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working out or advising about liabilities, obligations or entitlements of clients under a BAS provision, or

yes icon

representing a client in their dealings with the Commissioner of Taxation in relation to a BAS provision

 

where it is reasonable to expect a client to rely on the service to satisfy liabilities or obligations, or to claim entitlements, under a BAS provision.

The TPB has also declared certain services as BAS services that extend beyond the definition of a BAS provision through a legislative instrument.

For further information and examples of services visit BAS services

Registration exemptions

There are limited situations where you do not need to register as a BAS agent. These include if you are:

  • an employee or contractor of a registered tax or BAS agent and you do not provide BAS services in your own right. However, if you are working for a registered company or partnership tax or BAS agent, the company or partnership might need you (as an individual) to be registered so that it has a sufficient number of registered individual BAS agents

  • a customs broker licensed under the Customs Act 1901 providing a BAS service relating to imports or exports to which an ‘indirect tax law’ (as defined in section 995-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997) applies.

  • a legal practitioner and you:

    • are not prohibited from providing BAS services as a legal service under a state or territory law that regulates legal practice and the provision of legal services, and

    • do not prepare and lodge return like statements* except in the course of acting for a trust or deceased estate as trustee or legal personal representative.

*Note: Return like statements include business activity statements,instalment activity statements, superannuation guarantee statements and pay as you go withholding payment summary or income statements.

Penalties for unregistered conduct

The civil penalty provisions in the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 prohibit certain conduct while unregistered. The Federal Court can impose severe penalties for breach of these civil penalty provisions. These are summarised in the table below.

Conduct prohibited without BAS or tax agent registration

Penalties

Providing BAS services for a fee or reward

  • Up to $55,500 for an individual

  • Up to $277,500 for a body corporate.

Advertising BAS services

  • Up to $11,100 for an individual

  • Up to $55,500 for a body corporate.

Representing as a registered BAS agent

  • Up to $11,100 for an individual

  • Up to $55,500 for a body corporate.

 

For further information refer Civil penalty provisions for BAS agents

For Consumers

Check registration

To check if a BAS agent is registered:

Benefits of using a registered BAS agent

Registration ensures that BAS agents:

  • have the qualifications and experience required to provide BAS services

  • meet our fit and proper requirements

  • have appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover to protect consumers.

Additionally, under the safe harbour provisions in the Tax Administration Act 1953, taxpayers using a registered BAS agent may not be liable to some administrative penalties imposed by the Australian Taxation Office in certain circumstances.

Last modified: 30 November 2022