Commencement of the new tax agent services regime
After many years in the making, the new tax agent services regime is here!
The new regime is operational from today and consists of several components, including a clear separation of responsibilities between the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the national Tax Practitioners Board (Board).
There are a number of changes brought about by the new tax agent services legislation, including safe-harbour provisions and for the very first time the registration and regulation of BAS agents.
Anyone providing BAS services for a fee or other reward is now required to be registered as a tax agent or a BAS agent.
Both tax and BAS agents will be governed by a legislated code of professional conduct with wider and more flexible sanctions for breaching the code.
If you have someone completing your BAS for you, make sure you site their tax agent certificate of registration.
The ATO’s primary responsibility under the new legislation is the administration of the safe‑harbour provisions, which aim to ensure that services provided to the public by registered agents (tax agents or BAS agents) are of an appropriate ethical and professional standard.
Under the safe-harbour provisions, in certain circumstances, taxpayers who engage a registered agent may not be liable to certain administrative penalties where they have provided all relevant tax information to their agent, and the agent:
- does not take reasonable care and makes a false or misleading statement resulting in a shortfall amount, or
- takes reasonable care or lacked reasonable care and fails to lodge a document by the due date.
Safe-harbour provisions can only apply to:
- false or misleading statement penalty, where the statement is lodged on or after 1 March 2010, and
- failure to lodge on time penalty, where the document has a due date for lodgment of 1 March 2010 or later.