Supervision and control
Under the Code of Professional Conduct (Code) in the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA), all registered tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers (collectively known as 'tax practitioners') must ensure that tax agent, BAS or tax (financial) advice services they provide, or that are provided on their behalf are provided competently. This will generally require the registered tax practitioner to maintain adequate supervision and control over tax agent, BAS or tax (financial) advice services provided on their behalf.
Additionally, partnerships and companies must have a sufficient number of registered individual tax practitioners to provide tax agent, BAS or tax (financial) advice services to a competent standard and to carry out supervisory arrangements. This will apply to partnership or company tax (financial) advisers when they renew their registration or apply under the standard option.
As BAS services are a subset of tax agent services, the provision of BAS services may be supervised by a registered tax or BAS agent. Similarly, the provision of tax (financial) advice services may be supervised by a registered tax agent or tax (financial) adviser. However, the provision of tax agent services may only be supervised by a registered tax agent.
Sufficient number requirements
There is no set formula for determining the number of registered individual tax practitioners a partnership or company is required to have to satisfy this requirement.
We will take into account factors, including:
- size of the business
- services being offered
- number of qualified and experienced staff
- supervisory arrangements in place
- any conditions imposed on the entity’s registration based on the qualifications and experience of its personnel.
Tax (financial) adviser companies and partnerships who register under the notification or transitional options will need to meet the sufficient number requirement when they renew their registration.
Tax and BAS agents
Offshoring is the use of third parties or offshore operations to undertake elements of services provided by a registered agent. It is critical that adequate supervisory arrangements are made at the place where the offshoring of tax agent and/or BAS services occurs.
Agents within Australia need to consider the extent of how offshoring may impact on their ability to supervise the work being undertaken. There should be documented evidence that ‘work’ undertaken is being adequately supervised and reviewed. Agents must also ensure that clients are aware of any offshoring arrangement and have given their permission for third parties to have access to their information.
To avoid a potential breach of the Code, registered agents must not disclose any information relating to a client's affairs to a third party without the client’s permission unless there is a legal duty to do so. Agents should also ensure that any services provided to clients in Australia from a location outside this country are provided competently, just as must occur within Australia.
Tax (financial) advisers
We have released a draft information sheet TPB(I) D31/2015 setting out our preliminary views on confidentiality of client information for tax (financial) advisers, including offshoring arrangements.
For more information refer to: