Who needs to register as a tax agent?
If anyone provides tax agent services for a fee or other reward, they must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board.
To check if a tax agent is registered search the TPB Register or look for the Registered tax practitioner symbol.
Registration ensures that tax agents :
- have the qualifications and experience required to provide tax agent services
- meet our fit and proper requirements
- have appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover to protect consumers.
Additionally, under the safe harbour provisions in the Tax Administration Act 1953, taxpayers using a registered tax agent may not be liable to some administrative penalties imposed by the Australian Taxation Office in certain circumstances.
There are significant penalties for anyone providing tax agent services for a fee or reward or advertising tax agent services while unregistered.
Tax agent services relate to:
- working out or advising about liabilities, obligations or entitlements of clients under a taxation law, or
- representing entities in their dealings with the Commissioner of Taxation,
where the client can be reasonably expected to rely on the service to satisfy liabilities or obligations, or to claim entitlements, under a taxation law.
For further information and examples of services visit Tax agent services
There are limited situations where you do not need to register as a tax agent. You do not need to be registered if you are:
- an employee or contractor of a registered tax agent and you do not provide tax agent services in your own right. However, if you are working for a company or partnership which charges or receives fees for tax agent services, the company or partnership might need you (as an individual) to be registered so that it has a sufficient number of registered individual tax agents
- a legal practitioner who is not prohibited from providing tax agent services under a State or Territory law that regulates legal practice and the provision of legal services and you do not prepare and lodge returns or return like statements such as:
- business activity statements
- instalment activity statements
- superannuation guarantee statements
- pay as you go withholding payment summary statements
except in the course of acting for a trust or deceased estate as trustee or legal personal representative.
There are also certain services which are specifically excluded from the definition of a tax agent service, and you do not need to be registered to provide these services. For a full list of these specified services refer to subregulation 13(1) of the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009.
There are civil penalty provisions in the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 for providing a tax agent service for a fee or reward or advertising tax agent services while unregistered.
The Federal Court can impose severe penalties for breach of these civil penalty provisions.
For further information refer Civil penalties under the tax agent services regulatory regime