Tax practitioners warned of fines for illegal operation

Australian tax and BAS agents need to register with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) by 31 August to continue to operate legally.Tax

The law now requires tax agents and BAS agents to be registered with the TPB if they are providing tax agent services for a fee or other reward. The transitional application for tax agents, or the notification option for BAS agents, is the simplest way to apply for registration and both these options close on 31 August 2010.

This is the first time that there has been a nationally legislated requirement for bookkeepers, who are BAS preparers, to be registered and many agents might not know whether they are operating illegally, says the Chair of the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) Dale Boucher.

“We think there may be many operators out there who do not even know they now need to be registered, or that they may be providing these services illegally,” said Mr Boucher

“Even if you occasionally provide tax advice as part of your wider client service, you could now be classified as providing a tax agent or BAS service under the new law.”

“Specialists such as research and development consultants, quantity surveyors and those operating in limited areas of practice are just some examples of the types of providers who also may now be required to register with the TPB,” added Mr Boucher.

Unregistered preparers and those who do not comply with the civil penalty provisions, face fines of up to $27,500 for individuals or $137,500 for companies, which can be imposed for each breach by the Federal Court of Australia.

Other registration options will be available after 31 August but they do not offer the same advantages as the transitional options that expire on this date.