TAKE THE GUESS WORK OUT OF TAX TIME THIS YEAR
If you use someone to prepare or lodge your tax returns, notices or statements, or to provide you with tax advice this tax time, make sure they are registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).
Engaging with a registered tax practitioner ensures the service you are receiving comes from a qualified professional and may protect you from penalties should your practitioner not take reasonable care. Remember, you are responsible for your return even if someone prepares it for you.
Can you trust these people to help prepare your tax return?
Press on each card to reveal the answer!
A tax agent recommended by friends or family
Even when a tax agent is recommended by someone you trust, it is unwise to implicitly trust the tax agent’s credentials. Always check the TPB public register as registration ensures they have the appropriate experience, qualifications and insurance.
Accountants who belong to a professional association
Accountants belonging to a professional association must still be registered with the TPB to provide tax agent services legally if they charge a fee or receive a reward for their services.
Your friend who lodges his own tax return every year
You can ask a family member or friend to help you with your tax return. They cannot charge you a fee – only registered tax agents can charge for preparing tax returns.
A tax agent registered in another country
While they might be excellent agents in their own countries, they are unlikely to know enough about our tax system to be helpful. They still have to be registered with the TPB if they receive a payment, or a benefit from you.
A company displaying the TPB registered symbol
Engaging with a tax practitioner who displays the TPB registered symbol is a great way to ensure they meet the required professional standard. However, you must still ensure they are registered by checking their unique registration number displayed with the symbol on the TPB public register.
A former tax agent
The ever-changing nature of Australia’s tax system requires tax agents to constantly undergo professional education to ensure they continue to provide quality services. By using the services of a former tax agent, you run the risk of receiving out-dated tax advice that doesn’t follow current best practices.
TPB registered tax agent
Engaging the services of a TPB registered tax agent is the only way to ensure your tax affairs are handled by a qualified professional and may provide protection from the risks associated with these processes.
A BAS agent or financial adviser offering tax return services
Only registered tax agents can legally prepare and lodge tax returns on behalf of clients.
A tax agent advertising their services on job boards
It is common for illegitimate or terminated agents to promote tax services on job boards as a means of avoiding regulation from the TPB. Engaging their services, without ensuring they are properly registered, exposes you to risk and possible penalties if they include false or misleading information in your return.
A tax agent that promises you the largest tax refund
Many of the unscrupulous agents we investigate attract customers by promising the ‘largest tax refund possible’. Usually they achieve this by providing incorrect information to the ATO and if you knowingly engage in this process, you run the risk of having administrative penalties imposed on you.
Take the detective work out of tax time this year!
Use the TPB online register to find a qualified tax practitioner or check if your current one is legitimate.
© Commonwealth of Australia
Last modified: 21 October 2022