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Assessment of approved course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles exposure draft 2010

Exposure Draft

Information regarding the assessment aspect and requirements of an approved course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles

This draft information sheet is also available as a PDF, download link provided at the end of page.

The Tax Practitioners Board (Board) has released this draft information sheet as an exposure draft and invites comments and submissions in relation to the information contained in it within 60 days. The closing date for submissions is 28 February 2011 after which time the Board will consider any submissions made before seeking to finalise the information sheet.

Any written submissions in relation to this exposure draft should be made to the Secretary of the Board via email at tpbwebsite [at] ato.gov.au or by mail to:

Tax Practitioners Board
PO Box 9825


Please note that this document is in draft form, and when finalised, will be intended as information only. While it seeks to provide practical assistance and explanation, it does not exhaust, prescribe or limit the scope of the Board’s powers provided in the Tax Agent Services Act 2009.

Additionally, please note that the principles, explanations and examples in this paper do not constitute legal advice. They are also at a preliminary stage only. The Board’s conclusions and views may change as a result of the comments the Board receives or as other circumstances change.

Document history

This draft information sheet issued on 15 December 2010 and is based on the Tax Agent Services Act 2009, the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009 and the Tax Agent Services (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009 as at 1 March 2010. This information sheet sets out the preliminary views of the Tax Practitioners Board (Board) in relation to the assessment aspect, and requirements, of a course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles that is approved by the Board for the purpose of Schedule 2 to the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009 (TASR).

The information draws on advice given to the Board in February 2010 by Professors Michael Dirkis and Michael Walpole, and in May 2010 by Professor Keryn Chalmers.

The purpose of this information is to assist course providers, potential registrants and the wider community to understand the factors that provide the basis for the Board’s approach to the educational eligibility requirements for registration as a BAS agent.

All preliminary views expressed in this document are subject to ongoing consultation by the Board with relevant stakeholders. The Board intends to adopt these preliminary views until they are finalised.

Assessment aspect and requirements of approved courses

  1. Applicants seeking registration as a BAS agent under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA) are required, pursuant to the TASR, to have successfully completed a course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles that is approved by the Board.
  2. The Board has previously expressed the view that the methods of objective assessment described in paragraphs 3 to 8 below are appropriate for the purposes of Board approved courses in Australian taxation law, commercial law and basic accountancy principles. It is conceivable that a mixture of these assessment methods, or perhaps some other form of independent and objective assessment, could be appropriate to indicate successful completion of a course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles.
  3. The Board is of the preliminary view that some means of objective assessment is a key aspect of the approval of courses for registration of applicants as BAS agents. The Board takes the preliminary view that it must be satisfied that applicants have demonstrated their knowledge and skills in the relevant course or components by some means of an independent and objective assessment. Such assessment should be rigorous and have integrity. Various forms of assessment may be employed. Ideally because of different learning styles and what is appropriate for different aspects of a course, each course or component should employ a mix of assessment practices including:
  • tests
  • examinations (oral and written)
  • problem based assignments
  • essays and reports, and
  • computer based assessment tasks.
  1. Not every one of these assessments needs to be present in an approved course.
  2. The Board proposes not to accept assessments that either lack rigour or that are too narrow in their focus. Such assessments may be seen to be recognised as being one element which is a contributor to the overall determination of a student’s performance in a course, rather than being treated as the sole measure of their skills and knowledge in the course.
  3. The Board is of the preliminary view that assessment of knowledge and competence is the best safeguard for the Board to ensure that it admits to registration only applicants who have necessary technical qualifications to competently deal with taxpayers’ affairs. The Board recognises that prior learning through experience may be regarded as a proxy for content, but it does not propose to accept evidence of prior learning in the work place, which prior learning has not been formally assessed in some way.
  4. In principle, prior learning which has itself been formally assessed would not require further assessment. However, it is unlikely that the Board will approve an application if all the education requirements were satisfied by prior learning as the ability to keep up to date with changes requires the acquisition of essential learning skills (interpretive, analytical and cognitive skills) that come from the rigour associated with formal training courses.
  5. To satisfy the Board’s requirements in relation to assessment of an approved course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles, applicants must provide sufficient documentation which evidences that the course contained independent and objective assessment and, if the course was completed by prior learning, prior learning has been formally assessed in some way. This documentation may include, among other things, the qualification/certification, academic transcript, course outline and other relevant documentation from the course provider.
  6. In relation to an approved course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles, the Board is of the preliminary view that there must be a formal assessment component in the course or in the components of the course. This assessment should be sufficient to assure the Board that there has been a test or examination to ensure relevant content and skills expected in a course have been learned by the applicant and that rigour has been employed in the testing of the knowledge and skills.
  7. The Board does not propose to be prescriptive about the style and content of assessments, provided the assessments employed represent a genuine test of relevant knowledge and skills and are subject to integrity to ensure the relevant applicant will have undertaken the assessment task/s in question.
  8. The Board is of the preliminary view that the assessment should, to a significant degree (that is, at least 40%), be done under some form of independent supervision.
  9. Written submissions on what should be a suitable form of assessment for an approved course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles are invited by 28 February 2011, as indicated on the cover sheet.