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In a media release issued on 12 February 2009, the Assistant Treasurer, Chris Bowen, announced the release, for public comment, of the transitional and consequential provisions and associated explanatory material to complement the Tax Agent Services Bill 2008, which was introduced into Parliament on 13 November 2008. Together, these Bills give effect to the new regulatory regime for the provision of tax agent services.

In particular, the Exposure Draft provides the following:

  • transitional arrangements to allow tax agents and nominees registered under the current law to transition smoothly into the new regulatory regime, and similarly allow certain entities to be taken as registered Business Activity Statement (BAS) agents under the new regime;
  • amendments to the Taxation Administration Act 1953 to introduce two "safe harbour" provisions, which constitute key features of the new regulatory regime. The safe harbour provisions exempt taxpayers who engage an agent from liability for administrative penalties for certain mistakes and omissions where the error is solely due to the agent's carelessness; and
  • consequential amendments to existing legislation that will be necessary upon the enactment of the Tax Agent Services Bill 2008, for example the repeal of Part VIIA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (the existing law relating to the registration of tax agents).
Written comments on the consultation materials should be sent to Treasury by 25 March 2009.

For a copy of the Minister's media release, No 2009/007, 12 February 2009, go here.

For a copy of the Exposure Draft materials, go here.

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