AAT upholds Board’s decision to reject application for BAS agent registration
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) recently dismissed an application for review on the grounds that the applicant’s case had no reasonable prospects of success.
A committee of the Tax Practitioners Board (Board) rejected the applicant’s original application for BAS agent registration as they had not completed and been awarded the education qualification required under section 101 of the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009 (TASR) for BAS agent registration. There was no dispute that the applicant satisfied all the other requirements for their BAS agent registration.
Section 101 of the TASR requires an applicant for BAS agent registration to have been ‘awarded’ a Certificate IV in bookkeeping or accounting or a higher award (such as a diploma or degree) from a registered training organisation or an equivalent institution.
When applying for registration with the Board, the applicant relied on their yet to be completed Bachelor of Accounting degree to satisfy the educational qualification requirement under section 101 of the TASR. The applicant only had one more subject left to complete and was of the view the subjects completed thus far in her Bachelor of Accounting degree were equivalent to or higher than a Certificate IV qualification.
As the TASR sets out the requirement for the Certificate IV or higher qualification to have been ‘awarded’, the Board determined the applicant was not eligible for registration and rejected the BAS agent registration application.
Upon appeal in the AAT, the applicant had completed the educational requirements for the Bachelor of Accounting degree but had not yet been conferred or awarded the degree by the relevant institution. The AAT noted in its decision that: ‘The expression ‘awarded’ in the Regulations is a reference to a formal process by which the educational institution decides to certify that a person has met all the requirements and is thereafter awarded a qualification. It is not the ceremony that is important; it is an executive function which involves the university formally recording the award of the qualification.’ The AAT further stated that it was not open for it to conclude that a completed (and yet to be awarded) Bachelor’s degree is superior to a diploma.
The AAT noted that whilst there was no reason to doubt that the applicant will graduate, per the Board’s interpretation that because the TASR uses the expression ‘awarded’ in the past tense, the applicant must wait (to be registered as a BAS agent). The AAT stated that ‘the Board did not make this rule - it is a legislative instrument… But the rules are clear.’
Last modified: 1 June 2021