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Tax agent services

Tax agent services

Tax agent services are services relating to:

  • ascertaining (that is, working out) or advising about liabilities, obligations or entitlements of entities (that is your clients) under a taxation law
  • representing entities in their dealings with the Commissioner of Taxation (Commissioner) in relation to a taxation law
  • where it is reasonable to expect the entity will rely on the service to satisfy liabilities or obligations, or to claim entitlements under a taxation law.

There is a legal requirement that you must not charge or receive a fee or other reward if you provide a service which you know or should reasonably know is a tax agent service and you are not a registered tax agent. A similar requirement applies to lawyers preparing or lodging tax returns, they too must register. These registration requirements are not part of the definition of tax agent services, but are set out in section 50-5 of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA).

For the definition of a tax agent service, refer to section 90-5 of the TASA.
 

Foreign resident capital gains withholding and the tax agent services regime

If you are a conveyancer, you may be aware that new rules apply to vendors disposing of certain taxable Australian property under contracts entered into from 1 July 2016.

You could be impacted by the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA) if your clients are affected by these new rules. For further information refer to Conveyancing and the TASA.
 

Examples of tax agent services

This table includes a non-exhaustive list of the types of services that may or may not constitute a tax agent service under the TASA, if provided for a fee or reward.

Service

Tax agent
service

Not a tax agent
service

Preparing returns, notices, statements, applications or other documents about your client’s liabilities, obligations or entitlements under a taxation law.

X

 

Lodging returns, notices, statements, applications or other documents about your client’s liabilities, obligations or entitlements under a taxation law.

X

 

Assisting clients with tax concessions for expenditure incurred on research and development activities where the service involves the application of taxation laws.

X

 

Preparing depreciation schedules on the deductibility of capital expenditure.

 X

 

Preparing or lodging objections on behalf of a taxpayer under Part IVC of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (TAA) against an assessment, determination, notice or decision under a taxation law.

X

 

Giving clients advice about a taxation law that they can reasonably be expected to rely on to satisfy their taxation obligations.

X

 

Dealing with the Commissioner on behalf of clients.

X

 

Applying to the Commissioner or the Administrative
Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of, or instituting an appeal against, a decision on an objection under Part IVC of the TAA.  

X

 

Reconciling BAS provision data entry to ascertain the figures to be included on a client’s activity statement.

X

 

 

Filling in an activity statement on behalf of a client or instructing them which figures to include.

X

 

 

Ascertaining the withholding obligations for employees of your clients, including preparing payment summaries.

X

 

 

Installing computer accounting software and determining default goods and services tax (GST) and other codes tailored to clients.

X

 

 

Installing computer accounting software without determining default GST and other codes tailored to clients.

 

X

 

Coding transactions, particularly in circumstances where it requires the interpretation or application of a taxation law.

X

 

 

Coding tax invoices and transferring data onto a computer program for clients under the instruction and supervision of a registered tax or BAS agent.

 

X

 

Contracting the services of a specialist to provide advice about an area of taxation law that you have no expertise and cannot review for accuracy.

 

X

Services provided by an auditor of a self-managed superannuation fund under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.

 

X

Providing general taxation advice to clients that does not involve the application or interpretation of a taxation law to the client’s personal circumstances.

 

X

General training (such as a classroom) in relation to the use of computerised accounting software not related to particular fact situations.

 

X

 

Preparing bank reconciliations.

 

X

 

Entering data.

 

X

 


Partnerships and companies must have a sufficient number of registered individual tax agents to provide tax agent services to a competent standard and to carry out supervisory arrangements. This means that if you register as a partnership or company tax agent you may also need to register separately as an individual tax agent.
 

Labour hire firms and service trusts

Where a service trust or labour hire entity provides services to a client and the client can reasonably be expected to rely upon the service to satisfy their liabilities or obligations or claim entitlements under a taxation law, the service trust or labour hire entity may be providing a tax agent service and be required to register as a tax agent.

Generally, a service trust or labour hire entity is unlikely to be required to register where there is another registered entity (including a registered individual) which is providing the tax agent service and it is that entity which is directing the services being performed by the personnel provided by the service trust or labour hire entity.

If you operate a labour hire firm or service trust and are unsure if you are required to be registered, please email us at enquirymanagement [at] tpb.gov.au (subject: Labour%20hire%20firms%2Fservice%20trusts%20registration%20enquiry)
 

Types of registration

You can apply for tax agent registration as:

 

Last modified: 31 May 2017