Issued: 15 February 2023

Last modified: 17 February 2023

View the resources for our webinar, What does it mean to be a fit and proper person? In this webinar learn about the fit and proper person requirements contained in the Tax Agent Services Act 2009. Also, find out how we assess fitness and propriety and how this relates to your registration as a tax or BAS agent.


Webinar recording

 What does it mean to be a fit and proper person? webinar recording 

Questions and answers

We have compiled some of the questions we received during the webinar

Company fit and proper requirements

To remain registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), all company directors are required to be fit and proper.


Each director of a registered company needs to be a fit and proper person. This is one of the registration requirements for companies prescribed under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA). This ensures that registered companies are meeting the professional and ethical standards set out in the Code of Professional Conduct (Code).


Currently a tax practitioner is not required to disclose where an employee may not be considered a fit and proper person. However, it should be noted that the Code requires all registered tax practitioners to ensure that the services provided on their behalf are provided competently. An employee providing tax or BAS agent services, while not a fit and proper person, may raise questions about whether the services being provided are being provided competently.

It's also important to note that a registered tax or BAS agent must not employ or use the services of anyone who is not a registered tax practitioner, and had their registration terminated within one year before you first employed or used their services. Entities that have surrendered their registration, or became an undischarged bankrupt, are an exception under the TASA.

Personal tax obligations

Yes, you need to disclose any outstanding tax obligations, such as an Australian Taxation Office (ATO) debt, in your annual declaration or registration renewal form to provide assurance to us that you are meeting your personal tax obligations.


A registered tax practitioner will have complied with the taxation laws in the conduct of their personal affairs if they have paid their tax debts by the due date or have entered into, and are complying with a formal payment arrangement with the ATO to pay their tax debt by instalments. You also need to declare this arrangement with us when you renew.


You must ensure that you comply with your personal tax obligations, including those of your associated entities. Code item 2 requires that a registered tax practitioner comply with the taxation laws in the conduct of their personal affairs. This includes the affairs of all associated entities of a registered tax practitioner and any entity that the registered tax practitioner has direct or indirect control over, particularly in circumstances where the tax practitioner is responsible for and/or actively involved in the tax affairs of the entity. A failure to comply with Code item 2 may also have implications for the tax practitioner regarding their overall fitness and propriety. This would need to be considered in context of all the facts and circumstances.


We will not accept a registration surrender, if due to a current investigation, an investigation that will commence within 30 days of receiving your surrender request, or the outcome of an investigation, would make it inappropriate to do so.


We may terminate the registration of a tax practitioner if the TPB is satisfied that a tax practitioner no longer meets the ‘fit and proper person’ requirement for registration. We may also determine a period (of no more than 5 years) during which the tax practitioner may not apply for registration. The primary purpose of imposing a non-application period is to protect the public and the integrity of the tax profession.


While there isn’t a specific requirement that the special circumstances of an individual be considered, we may treat the particular circumstances of an individual as relevant in determining fitness and propriety.

The particular circumstances of a tax practitioner may be relevant to a determination of fitness and propriety, however, we must also weigh the public interest in the tax practitioner continuing in practice against the public interest in protecting clients from a recurrence of the relevant misconduct.

Considerations of the personal circumstances of an individual cannot override this primary consideration which must not be considered in isolation from the public interest in ensuring proper and competent provision of tax agent and BAS services.


In 2022, 62 tax practitioners had sanctions imposed because of a lack of fitness and propriety. This included:
















Personal circumstances

A tax practitioner’s inappropriate conduct does not need to occur directly in the course of professional practice to constitute misconduct or improper conduct for the purposes of assessing fitness and propriety for registration. Such conduct will impact adversely on fitness and propriety where it is sufficiently closely connected with such practice, undermines the reputation or standards of the profession or demonstrates the presence of qualities (such as dishonesty or deception) that are inconsistent with the standards and expectations to practise as a registered tax practitioner.


The role of a tax practitioner is not to be taken lightly. It is a role that requires attributes like competence, good fame, integrity and character in their dealings. The conduct of a tax practitioner should be such that the TPB, the Commissioner, clients and the public can have confidence that they will perform their function competently and with integrity.

The factors considered in making an assessment of fitness and propriety are not limited to those which the TPB identifies in our guidance materials. Conduct falling short of this standard may indicate that an individual is not a fit and proper person. Certain offences are so inconsistent with performing the role of a tax practitioner that conviction for these offences will render a person not fit and proper to be registered, for example, offences involving tax evasion.

Cyber security

A failure to take appropriate steps to ensure client confidentiality is indicative that the tax practitioner may lack the fitness and propriety to be registered. Where a breach of the Code has occurred (for example Code item 6 - confidentiality of client information) as a result of a cyber incident, we would need to consider the IT controls in place to determine what administrative sanctions, if any, should be imposed. Ultimately, we will consider any breaches on a case-by-case basis.

Learn how to assess any potential cyber risk to your business and what steps you can take to protect your practice and client information by viewing our cyber security webinar.