The Tax Agent Services Act Background

The new regulatory regime will govern the provision of tax agent services and BAS services and is intended to ensure that tax agent services and BAS services provided to taxpayers are of an appropriate standard. The key legislative elements of the new regulatory regime are summarised below.

The Tax Agent Services Act 2009 received Royal Assent on 26 March 2009and establishes the basic framework for the new regulatory regime. The key elements of the Act are:

  • the establishment of a national Tax Practitioners Board;
  • a legislated Code of Professional Conduct to govern the provision of tax agent and BAS services;
  • a wider range of disciplinary sanctions which may be imposed by the Board;
  • registration and regulation of tax agents and BAS agents; and
  • a 'safe harbour' for taxpayers from penalties who use tax agents or BAS agents in certain circumstances.

The Tax Agent Services (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009 received Royal Assent on 16 November 2009. The key elements of the Act are:

  • transitional arrangements to allow tax agents and BAS agents to transition into the new regulatory regime; and
  • amendments to the ‘safe harbour’ provisions.

The Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009 were registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments on Friday, 13 November 2009. The Regulations include:

  • requirements for registration as a tax agent and a BAS agent;
  • definitions and requirements for recognition as a recognised tax agent association and recognised BAS agent association; and
  • fees for registration.

It is essential that all tax practitioners and BAS agents understand the new regime and the impact it will have on them.