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Registered tax practitioner symbol certified trade mark rules

Registered tax practitioner symbol certified trade mark rules

Introduction

  1. The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) is responsible for the administration of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA) and the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009 (TASR).

  2. The object of the TASA is to ensure that tax agent services, which include BAS (Business Activity Statement) services and tax (financial) advice services, are provided to the public in accordance with appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct.

  3. Under the TASA, the TPB is responsible for administering the system for the registration of tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers (referred to as tax practitioners) and investigating conduct that may breach the TASA, including breaches of the civil penalty provisions.

  4. The TPB has developed a Registered tax practitioner symbol (symbol) which is a visual indicator used by registered tax practitioners. This symbol is registered as a Certified trade mark (CTM) with the Registrar of Trade Marks.

  5. This document contains the rules governing the use of the CTM for the symbol (CTM rules), including the terms and conditions of use. These rules form part of the TPB’s CTM application for the symbol with the Registrar of Trade Marks.

  6. The CTM rules set out the following information, in accordance with subsection 173(2) of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (TM Act):

    1. the requirements (the certification requirements) that goods and/or services must meet for the certification trade mark to be applied to them

    2. the process for determining whether goods and/or services meet the certification requirements

    3. the attributes that a person must have to become a person (an approved certifier) approved to assess whether goods and/or services meet the certification requirements

    4. the requirements that a person, who is the owner of the certification trade mark or an approved user, must meet to use the certification trade mark in relation to goods and/or services

    5. the other requirements about the use of the certification trade mark by a person who is the owner of the certification trade mark or an approved user

    6. the procedure for resolving a dispute about whether goods and/or services meet the certification requirements

    7. the procedure for resolving a dispute about any other issue relating to the certification trade mark.

  1. These CTM rules also contain the following appendices:

    Appendix 1: The Terms and conditions for use (terms and conditions) of the symbol by registered tax practitioners 

    Appendix 2: Eligibility for registration as a BAS agent – prescribed requirements in Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the TASR

    Appendix 3: Eligibility for registration as a tax agent – prescribed requirements in Part 2 of Schedule 2 of the TASR

    Appendix 4: Eligibility for registration as a tax (financial) adviser - prescribed requirements in Part 3 of schedule 2 of the TASR.

    Appendix 5: Registered Tax Practitioner Symbol Guidelines

 

A. The requirements (certification requirements) that goods and/or services must meet for the certification trade mark to be applied to them (subsection 173(2(a) of the TM Act

  1. The symbol, as a CTM, provides public recognition that a tax practitioner is registered and obliged to meet appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct. Use of the symbol does not certify the quality or accuracy of the services performed by a registered tax practitioner.

  2. Certification requirements that services must meet in order for the certification trade mark to be applied to them are that:

    • the services are lawfully provided by a registered tax practitioner 

    • the registered tax practitioner providing the services has agreed to, and abides by, the terms and conditions (noting that the terms and conditions include a requirement that a tax practitioner must agree to abide by the CTM rules)

    • the registered tax practitioner has not been directed by the TPB not to use the symbol.

  1. These certification requirements detailed in paragraphs 12 to 21.

  2. When a registered tax practitioner agrees to the terms and conditions, the TPB grants the tax practitioner a royalty-free, non-exclusive, non-transferrable, revocable licence to use the symbol in Australia in accordance with the terms and conditions. 

 

Certification requirement 1 – The services are lawfully provided by a registered tax practitioner

  1. It is a certification requirement that services must be lawfully provided by a registered tax practitioner for the certification trade mark to be applied to them.

  2. A person will be a registered tax agent, registered BAS agent, or registered tax (financial) adviser if they have been registered as such by the TPB and that registration has not ceased for any reason.

  3. All registered tax agents, registered BAS agents and registered tax (financial) advisers will appear on the Register of registered and deregistered tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers (TPB Register).

  4. If an entity ceases to be a registered tax practitioner, any tax agent service, BAS service, or tax (financial) advice service provided by that entity will no longer meet the certification requirements for the symbol. The provision of a tax agent service by an unregistered entity will have legal consequences, including the possible contravention of a civil penalty provision in the TASA.
  5. A tax practitioner who ceases to be a registered tax practitioner is not permitted to use the symbol. Any licence granted to the tax practitioner will be cancelled, in accordance with the terms and conditions.

 

Certification requirement 2 – The service must be provided by a registered tax practitioner who has agreed to, and abides by, the terms and conditions

  1. It is a certification requirement that services must be provided by a registered tax practitioner who has agreed to, and abides by, the terms and conditions, for the certification trade mark to be applied to them.

  2. Appendix 1 outlines the terms and conditions.

 

Certification requirement 3 – The services must be provided by a registered tax practitioner who has met all of the relevant requirements and must not have been directed by the TPB not to use the symbol

  1. It is a certification requirement that services must be provided by a registered tax practitioner who has not been directed by the TPB not to use the symbol so that the certification trade mark can be applied to them.

  2. To be eligible to use the symbol, registered tax practitioners must have met all of the relevant requirements in section 20-5 of the TASA in relation to the grant of their registration and have been notified of the TPB's decision to grant the registration under section 20-30 of the TASA. This excludes entities that are currently registered, or taken to be registered, as a tax (financial) adviser by virtue of items 49 and 50 of the Tax Laws Amendment (2013 Measures no. 3) Act 2013.

  3. The terms and conditions contain clauses that enable the TPB to direct a tax practitioner not to use the symbol. See, for example, subclauses 3.2 and 3.7 and clause 14. The TPB monitors the conduct of registered tax practitioners to ensure that they comply with directions from the TPB not to use the symbol.

 

B. The process for determining whether goods and/ or services meet the certification requirements (subsection 173(2)(b) of the TM Act)

  1. The TPB’s processes for determining whether the tax agent services, BAS services or tax (financial) advice services that an entity provides, or will provide, meet the certification requirements are set out below.

 

Processes for ensuring that services are lawfully provided by a registered tax practitioner (Certification requirement 1)

(a) the name of the entity;
(b) the contact details of the entity;
(c) the date of effect of the termination of the entity’s registration;
(d) the reason for the termination of the entity’s registration.

(4) The register of registered tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers may include other information that is relevant to the operation of the arrangements for the registration of tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers.”

  1. The TPB maintains a Register of registered and deregistered tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers (TPB Register) as required by the TASA. Specifically, section 60-135 of the TASA provides:

    “(1) The Board must establish and maintain a register of:

    (a) registered tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers; and
    (b) each entity who was a registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser and whose registration has been terminated other than because of a reason prescribed by the regulations.

    (2) The regulations may prescribe the details that the Board must enter on the register in respect of each entity who is entered on the register.

    (3) Details of an entity who was a registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser must only be kept on the register for the 12 month period starting on the day on which the entity’s registration as a registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser was terminated.

    (4) The register is to be made available for inspection on the internet."

  2. The TPB Register is published on the TPB's website and available for inspection by the public.

  3. Regulation 12 of the TASR provides the following additional requirements in respect of the TPB Register:

    “(1) For subsection 60-135 (2) of the Act, the register of registered tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers required by paragraph 60-135 (1) (a) of the Act must include the following information for each registered tax agent, BAS agent and tax (financial) adviser:

    (a) the name of the registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser;
    (b) the contact details of the registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser;
    (c) any relevant professional affiliation of the registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser;
    (d) the duration of the registration of the registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser;
    (e) any condition to which the registration of the registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser is subject;
    (f) any sanction (other than a caution or termination) that has been imposed by the Board on the registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser.

    Note: Subregulation (3) explains the information that must be placed on the register of entities in relation to the termination of the registration of a registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser.

    (2) Information on the register of registered tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers that relates to a sanction (other than a caution or termination) that has been imposed by the Board on a registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser must be kept on the register for the longer of:

    (a) 12 months starting on the day on which the sanction is imposed; and
    (b) the period during which the sanction has effect.

     (3) For subsection 60-135 (2) of the Act, the register of entities who were registered tax agents, BAS agents or tax (financial) advisers, and whose registration has been terminated in certain circumstances required by paragraph 60-135 (1) (b) of the Act, must include the following information for each entity:

  4. By maintaining the TPB Register, the TPB provides the public with information relating to a tax practitioner's registration status, which verifies whether the tax practitioner meets Certification requirement 1.

  5. The processes the TPB has implemented to ensure that services are provided lawfully by a registered tax practitioner, as required by Certification requirement 1, include the following:

    • The TPB receives, risk assesses, enquires into, and escalates medium to high risk complaints it receives from the public about the conduct of registered tax practitioners.

    • Where it is permitted by law to do so, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) refer information to the TPB for the purposes of assisting the TPB to exercise its functions and powers, including information relevant to a registered tax practitioner’s ongoing compliance with the TASA.

    • Where it is permitted by law to do so, the TPB may request information from the ATO, ASIC and other government agencies, relevant to a tax practitioner’s compliance with the TASA.

    • The TPB monitors the media, receives information from professional associations, and makes relevant enquiries to identify and determine conduct that may contravene the TASA.

    • The TPB may, in appropriate circumstances, investigate the conduct of a registered tax practitioner under Subdivision 60-E of the TASA to determine if the conduct breaches the TASA. If the TPB finds that the conduct breaches the TASA, the TPB must either make a decision that no further action will be taken, or take one or more of the actions mentioned in subsection 60-125(2)(b) of the TASA.

    • The TPB may, in appropriate circumstances, apply to the Federal Court for an order that an entity has contravened a civil penalty provision in Subdivisions 50-A or 50-B of the TASA.

    • Where it is permitted by law to do so, and in accordance with the exceptions to the disclosure of official information outlined in sections 70-40 and 70-45 of the TASA, the TPB may disclose information to the:

      • Commissioner of Taxation for the purpose of administering a taxation law, and

      • ASIC for the purpose of the Commission performing any of its functions or exercising any of its powers.

    • Where it is permitted by law to do so, and in accordance with the exceptions to the disclosure of official information outlined in sections 70-40 and 70-45 of the TASA, the TPB may disclose information about the lawfulness of conduct by registered tax practitioners to other authorised government representatives. For example, in appropriate circumstances, the TPB may disclose relevant information to the Commissioner of Taxation or to an authorised law enforcement agency officer.

 

Processes for ensuring ongoing compliance with the terms and conditions by registered tax practitioners (Certification requirement 2)

  1. To meet the certification requirements for the symbol, tax agent services, BAS services or tax (financial) advice services must be provided by a registered tax practitioner who has agreed to, and abides by, the terms and conditions (noting that the terms and conditions also require registered tax practitioners to comply with these CTM rules).

  2. Registered tax practitioners must provide their consent to the terms and conditions before they download the symbol from the TPB’s website. If a tax practitioner does not consent to the terms and conditions, the tax practitioner is not permitted to download or use the symbol.

  3. Through its regulatory assurance function, the TPB monitors the conduct of registered tax practitioners to ensure that they continue to comply with the terms and conditions and also to ensure the TPB’s rights in respect of the symbol are protected.

  4. In appropriate circumstances, the TPB may take remedial action (for example, infringement proceedings) to enforce its rights under the terms and conditions and its other legal rights in respect of the symbol.

 

Processes for ensuring services are provided by registered tax practitioners who have not been directed not to use the symbol (Certification requirement 3)

  1. Through its regulatory assurance function, the TPB monitors the conduct of registered tax practitioners to ensure that they comply with any directions from the TPB regarding their use of the symbol, including any direction related to the modification or cancellation of the licence granted to the tax practitioner under the terms and conditions.

  2. In appropriate circumstances, the TPB may take remedial action against a tax practitioner for not complying with a direction from the TPB about use of the symbol.

 

C. The attributes that a person must have to become a person (an approved certifier) approved to assess whether goods and/or services meet the certification requirements (paragraph 173(2)(c) of the TM Act)

  1. The owner of the symbol is the Crown in the right of the Commonwealth of Australia c/- the Tax Practitioners Board.

  2. The Tax Practitioners Board is the approved certifier for the purposes of determining if a tax practitioner - in providing the tax agent services, BAS services or tax (financial) advice services - meet the certification requirements in relation to the symbol.

 

Functions of the TPB

  1. The TPB is responsible for the general administration of the TASA. The object of the TASA is to ensure that tax agent services, BAS services and tax (financial) advice services are provided to the public in accordance with appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct.

  2. Section 60-15 of the TASA provides that the functions of the TPB are:

    “(a) to administer the system for the registration of registered tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers; and

    (b) to investigate:

    (i) applications for registration; and
    (ii) conduct that may breach this Act; and

    (c) to impose sanctions for non-compliance with the Code of Professional Conduct; and

    (d) to issue, by legislative instrument, guidelines to assist in achieving the functions mentioned in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c); and

    (e) such other functions as are conferred on the Board by this Act, the regulations or any other law of the Commonwealth; and

    (f) to do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of its functions.”

  3. Section 60-20 of the TASA provides that the TPB has the power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of its functions.

 

Assistance to the Board in the performance of functions or its powers

  1. The Board is assisted in the performance of its functions and powers by Australian Public Service employees, including the Secretary of the TPB, whose services are made available to the Board by the Commissioner of Taxation: section 60-80 of the TASA and Regulation 11 of the TASR.

  2. To assist the Board in the performance of its functions and powers, the Board also establishes committees, which consist of such persons as the Board determines (whether Board members or not): section 60-85 of the TASA.

  3. In addition, to assist the Board in the performance of its functions and powers, the Board may also delegate all or any of its functions and powers to a Board member or to a committee, other than its function of issuing guidelines and its power to establish a committee: subsection 70-30(1) of the TASA.

  4. The Board may only delegate to a committee a power to make a decision in respect of which an application for review may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal under section 70-10 of the TASA, if the committee has three or more members, all of who are Board members: subsection 70-30(2) of the TASA.

  5. A delegate in the exercise of a delegated function or power is subject to the directions of the Board: subsection 70-30(3) of the TASA.

  6. In accordance with subregulation 11(4) of the TASR, the Secretary of the TPB may, in writing, delegate any of his or her powers and functions (other than the power of delegation itself in subregulation 11(4)) to a person who has been made available to the Board under subregulation 11(1)(b) of the TASR.

  7. In summary, the relevant attributes that a person must have to certify that services meet the certification requirements are that:

    • the person is the Chair of the Board or a person performing the duties of the Chair from time to time

    • the person is another Board member who the Board has validly authorised to certify that services meet the certification requirements

    • the person has otherwise been provided with the power to certify that services meet the certification requirements pursuant to a valid authorisation from the Board

    • the person is the Secretary of the TPB or a person performing the duties of the Secretary from time to time.

 

D. The requirements that a person, who is the owner of the certification trade mark or an approved user, must meet to use the certification trade mark in relation to goods and/or services (subsection 173(2)(d) of the TM Act)

  1. To use the certification trademark in relation to providing tax agent services, BAS or tax (financial) advice services, a person must meet the following requirements:

    • the person is a registered tax agent, registered BAS agent or registered tax (financial) adviser

    • the person has agreed to, and abides by, the terms and conditions

    • the person has not been directed by the TPB to cease using the symbol.

  2. It is a prerequisite that a person is registered as a tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser to comply with Certification requirement 1 (i.e. the requirement that services must be lawfully provided by a registered tax practitioner) in relation to the services they provide.

  3. To be, and to remain, a registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser, an entity must meet, and continue to meet, the tax practitioner registration requirements.

  4. The tax practitioner registration requirements are those matters, outlined in Subdivision 20-A of the TASA, about which the TPB must be satisfied before the TPB is obliged to grant an application for registration or renewal of registration under the TASA.

  5. It is an ongoing requirement to be regarded as a registered tax practitioner under the TASA that an entity meets the eligibility requirements for registration in Subdivision 20-A of the TASA, and these requirements are summarised in paragraphs 51 to 62.

 

Eligibility requirements for registration as a tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser

 

Individuals

  1. Under subsection 20-5(1) of the TASA, an individual is eligible for registration, if the individual is aged 18 years or more and the TPB is satisfied that:
    • the individual is a fit and proper person within the meaning of the TASA (see subsection 20-5(1)(a) of the TASA)

    • the individual meets the requirements prescribed by the TASR including, but not limited to, the requirements relating to qualifications and experience (see subsection 20-5(1)(b) of the TASA). The prescribed requirements in the TASR are set out in Appendices 2, 3 and 4.

  2. Note that individuals who were registered as a tax agent or nominee for the purposes of Part VIIA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, immediately before 1 November 1988 and immediately before
    1 March 2010, are not required to meet the requirements prescribed by the TASR (including, but not limited to, the requirements relating to qualifications and experience) in assessing their eligibility for registration under subsection 20-5(1) of the TASA: see subsection 20-5(4) of the TASA.

Partnerships

  1. Under subsection 20-5(2) of the TASA, a partnership is eligible for registration as a tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser, if the TPB is satisfied that:

    • each partner who is an individual is:

      • aged 18 years or more

      • a fit and proper person

    • if a company is a partner:

      • each director of the company is a fit and proper person

      • the company is not under external administration

      • the company has not been convicted of a serious taxation offence or an offence involving fraud or dishonesty during the previous five year

    • in the case of registration as a registered tax agent – the partnership has a sufficient number of individuals, being registered tax agents, to provide tax agent services to a competent standard, and to carry out supervisory arrangements

    • in the case of registration as a registered BAS agent – the partnership has a sufficient number of individuals, being registered tax or BAS agents, to provide BAS services to a competent standard, and to carry out supervisory arrangements.

    • in the case of registration as a tax (financial) adviser - taking into account the requirements of paragraphs 912A(1)(d) to (f) of the Corporations Act 2001, the partnership has a sufficient number of individuals, being registered tax agents or registered tax (financial) advisers, to provide tax (financial) advice services to a competent standard, and to carry our supervisory arrangements.           

Companies

  1. Under subsection 20-5(3) of the TASA, a company is eligible for registration as a tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser, if the TPB is satisfied that:

    • each director of the company is a fit and proper person

    • the company is not under external administration

    • the company has not been convicted of a serious taxation offence or an offence involving fraud or dishonesty during the previous five years

    • in the case of registration as a registered tax agent – the company has a sufficient number of individuals, being registered tax agents, to provide tax agent services to a competent standard and to carry out supervisory arrangements

    • in the case of registration as a registered BAS agent – the company has a sufficient number of individuals, being registered tax or BAS agents, to provide BAS services to a competent standard and to carry out supervisory arrangements.

    • in the case of registration as a registered tax (financial) adviser - taking into account the requirements of paragraphs 912A(1)(d) to (f) of the Corporations Act 2001, the company has a sufficient number of individuals, being registered tax agents or registered tax (financial) advisers, to provide tax (financial) advice services to a competent standard, and to carry out supervisory arrangements.

Fit and proper person requirement

  1. Section 20-15 of the TASA provides that in deciding whether it is satisfied that an individual is a fit and proper person, the TPB must have regard to:

    • whether the individual is of good fame, integrity and character

    • without limiting the above, whether at any time in the previous five years:

      • an event described in section 20-45 of the TASA has occurred

      • the individual had the status of an undischarged bankrupt

      • the individual served a term of imprisonment, in whole or in part.

  2. Section 20-45 of the TASA provides that the following events may affect a registered tax practitioner’s continued registration:

    • conviction of a serious taxation offence

    • conviction of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty

    • being penalised for being a promoter of tax exploitation scheme

    • being penalised for implementing a scheme that has been promoted on the basis of conformity with a product ruling in a way that is materially different from that described in the product ruling

    • becoming an undischarged bankrupt or going into external administration

    • being sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

Professional indemnity insurance and continuing professional education requirements

  1. Section 20-5 of the TASA provides that:

  • it is an eligibility requirement for registration and renewal of registration that applicants maintain, or will be able to maintain, professional indemnity insurance that meets the TPB's requirements
  • upon renewal of registration, registered tax practitioners are required to demonstrate that they have completed continuing professional education that meets the TPB's requirements.

Prescribed requirements in the TASR

  1. One of the eligibility requirements for registration as an individual tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser is that the individual meets the requirements prescribed by the TASR, including, but not limited to, the requirements relating to qualifications and experience (see subsection 20-5(1)(b) of the TASA).

  2.  An exception to this requirement exists for individuals who were registered as a tax agent or nominee immediately before 1 November 1988 and immediately before 1 March 2010.

  3. Regulation 7 of the TASR requires that an individual seeking registration as a BAS agent must satisfy one of the items prescribed in Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the TASR (for the purposes of subsection 20-5(1)(b) of the TASA). These requirements are set out in Appendix 2.

  4. Regulation 8 requires that an individual seeking registration as a tax agent must satisfy one of the items prescribed in Part 2 of Schedule 2 of the TASR (for the purposes of subsection 20-5(1)(b) of the TASA). These requirements are set out in Appendix 3.

  5. Regulation 8A of the TASR requires that an individual seeking registration as a tax (financial)  adviser must satisfy one of the items prescribed in Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the TASR (for the purposes of paragraph 20-5(1)(b) of the TASA). These requirements are set out in Appendix 4.

Transitional provisions for tax (financial) advice services

  1.  An entity which seeks registration as a tax (financial) adviser during the 'notification period' (beginning on 1 July 2014 and ending on 31 December 2015), may be registered in accordance with the Tax Laws Amendment (2013 Measures no. 3) Act 2013 (Amendment Act), including Items 49 and 51.

  2. An entity which seeks registration as a tax (financial) adviser during the 'transitional period' (beginning on 1 January 2016 and ending on 30 June 2017), may be registered in accordance with the Amendment Act, including Items 50 and 51.

  3. To be eligible to use the symbol, registered tax practitioners must have met all of the relevant requirements in section 20-5 of the TASA in relation to the grant of their registration and have been notified of the TPB's decision to grant the registration under section 20-30 of the TASA. This excludes entities that are currently registered, or taken to be registered, as a tax (financial) adviser by virtue of Items 49 and 50 of the Amendment Act.

Ceasing to be a registered tax practitioner

  1. A tax practitioner will cease to be a registered tax practitioner where:

    • the tax practitioner's registration lapses (See Subdivision 20-B of the TASA);

    • the tax practitioner submits an application for renewal of their registration and the TPB rejects that renewal application;

    • the tax practitioner surrenders their registration;

    • the tax practitioner dies;

    • the tax practitioner ceases to exist (where the tax practitioner is a company); or

    • the tax practitioner is suspended or terminated as a registered tax practitioner by the TPB pursuant to the TPB’s powers under the TASA (for example, for a breach of the Code of Professional Conduct in section 30-10 of the TASA). In the case of suspension, the tax practitioner will be taken not to be a registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser (except for the purposes of certain provisions in the TASA) for the period of suspension.

 

E. Other requirements about the use of the certification trade mark by a person who is the owner of the certification trade mark or an approved user (subsection 173(2)(e) of the TM Act)

  1. Additional requirements that registered tax practitioners must satisfy to use the CTM for the symbol relate to the following matters:

    • Registered Symbol Guidelines

    • authorised use of the symbol

    • restrictions on using the symbol

    • alteration of the symbol

    • circumstances in which a tax practitioner must refrain from using the symbol.

  2. These additional requirements are explained in paragraphs 73 to 85 below (noting that many of them are also set out in the terms and conditions in Appendix 1).

Registered tax practitioner symbol guidelines

  1. It is a requirement for an approved user of the certification trade mark to comply with the Registered Tax Practitioner Symbol Guidelines (symbol guidelines).

  2. The symbol guidelines explain and demonstrate different ways registered tax practitioners may use the symbol.

  3. The symbol guidelines are contained in Appendix 5.

Authorised use of the symbol

  1. The symbol must only be used by registered tax practitioners who satisfy the certification requirements. If, for example, a registered tax practitioner has not agreed to abide by the terms and conditions, then the tax practitioner is not authorised to use the symbol.

  2. A registered tax practitioner must only use the symbol in a manner that is consistent with the terms and conditions (see Appendix 1), the Registered Tax Practitioner Symbol Guidelines (see Appendix 5), and in accordance with any other directions from the TPB published from time to time on the TPB’s web site.

  3. A registered tax practitioner must only use the symbol if it is accompanied by the tax practitioner’s registration number.

  4. Where a registered tax practitioner partnership contracts with another entity to provide a tax agent service, BAS service or tax (financial) advice service, the partnership must use its registration number in conjunction with the symbol in the provision of those services, and not the registration number of any registered tax practitioner partner associated with the partnership.

  5. Where a registered tax practitioner company contracts with another entity to provide a tax agent service, BAS service or tax (financial) advice service, the company must use its registration number in conjunction with the symbol in the provision of those services, and not the registration number of any other registered tax practitioner associated with the company.

Restrictions on using the symbol

  1. The symbol must not be used inappropriately including, without limiting the generality of this restriction, as follows:

    • the symbol must not be used in a manner that contravenes the terms and conditions (which includes the requirement that a tax practitioner is required to comply with the CTM rules, the Registered Tax Practitioner Symbol Guidelines, and any directions from the TPB about its use)

    • the symbol must not be used without a tax practitioner's registration number

    • the symbol must only be used in, or in connection with, the provision of tax agent services, BAS services or tax (financial) advice services for a fee or other reward by, or on behalf of, a registered tax practitioner

    • the symbol must not be included on any written materials without the name of the registered tax practitioner

    • the symbol must not be used in a manner that infringes the TPB’s intellectual property and other rights in the symbol (for example the TPB’s registered rights in relation to the symbol as a CTM)

    • the symbol must not be used in a misleading or deceptive manner, or in any way which is illegal (for example, in relation to any intellectual property or consumer protection laws)

    • the symbol must not be used in a way that is likely to damage the reputation of the symbol or that of the TPB

    • the symbol must not be used or modified in a manner that makes improper or undesirable associations with the symbol (for example, the symbol must not be displayed on inappropriate websites, for example gambling or adult entertainment websites)

    • if a tax practitioner sells their business, or the tax practitioner relocates their business premises, the tax practitioner must not permit the symbol to remain on signs, awnings or other visual displays at their former business premises and must remove the symbol from any signs, awnings or other visual displays, at their own expense, when leaving the premises or if directed to do so by the TPB.

Alteration of the symbol

  1. A registered tax practitioner must not alter the symbol in any manner other than that permitted by the terms and conditions, the symbol guidelines, or any other directions from the TPB.

  2. Examples of unauthorised alteration of the symbol are contained in the symbol guidelines in
    Appendix 5.

Circumstances in which a tax practitioner must refrain from using the symbol

  1. The symbol must not be used where the tax practitioner:

    • has failed to apply to renew their registration within the required timeframe (see Subdivision 20-B of the TASA),

    • submits an application for renewal of their registration and the TPB rejects that renewal application,

    • surrenders their registration,

    • dies (noting that the executor or administrator of a deceased person’s estate, or any other person, must not use the deceased person’s version of the symbol with their registration number),

    • goes into external administration or is wound up (where the tax practitioner is a company)

    • is suspended or terminated as a registered tax practitioner by the TPB pursuant to the TPB’s powers under the TASA.

  2. A tax practitioner must also refrain from using the symbol where, in accordance with the terms and conditions, the TPB has directed the tax practitioner to refrain from using the symbol.

F. The procedure for resolving a dispute about whether goods and/or services meet the certification requirements (subsection 173(2)(f) of the TM Act)

  1. The CTM for the symbol certifies the registration status of a tax practitioner and not the quality or accuracy of the services performed by the tax practitioner.

  2. Services will meet the certification requirements if they are provided by a registered tax agent, BAS agent of tax (financial) adviser who has agreed to, and abides by, these CTM Rules. Further, to meet the certification requirements, a registered tax practitioner must not have been directed by the TPB to not use the symbol.

  3. In the event that a tax practitioner wishes to dispute a decision made by the TPB in relation to its services meeting the certification requirements, the process set out in clause 16 of the terms and conditions contained in Appendix 1 is to apply.

G. The procedure for resolving a dispute about any other issue relating to the certification trade mark (subsection 173(2)(g) of the TM Act)

  1. In addition to disputing a decision in relation to whether services meet the certification requirements as set out above, if a tax practitioner wishes to dispute a decision made by the TPB in relation to any other issue relating to the symbol, including a dispute after the tax practitioner is approved to use the symbol, the process set out in clause 16 of the terms and conditions contained in Appendix 1 is to apply.

Appendix 1: Terms and conditions for use of the symbol. Refer page 21 of the PDF version of these CTM rules.

Appendix 2: Eligibility for registration as a BAS agent – prescribed requirements in Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the TASR. Refer page 31 of the PDF version of these CTM rules.

Appendix 3: Eligibility for registration as a tax agent – prescribed requirements in Part 2 of Schedule 2 of the TASR. Refer page 33 of the PDF version of these CTM rules.

Appendix 4: Eligibility for registration as a tax (financial) adviser. Refer page 37 of the PDF version of these CTM rules.

Appendix 5: Registered tax practitioner symbol guidelines. Refer page 40 of the PDF version of these CTM rules.

These certified trade mark rules are also available as a PDF, download Registered tax practitioner symbol certified trade mark rules (3.88MB).