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On 27 October 2009, Tax Agent Services (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2009 was passed by the House with one Government amendment, namely, in Schedule 2, item 14, page 22 (line 25), the words “or has been” were inserted after the word “is”.

Consequent on the passage of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009, the Bill amends 8 Acts and provides for transitional arrangements for certain entities providing tax agent services before the commencement of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009.

In particular, the Bill will:

  • allow tax agents and nominees registered under the current law to continue to provide their services with little disruption when the new regime commences;
  • provide a transitional period in which those providing Business Activity Statement (BAS) services for a fee can seek registration without necessarily meeting the qualification or relevant experience requirements. This recognises that such entities will be required to register for the first time;
  • introduce two new safe harbour provisions that will, in particular circumstances, exempt taxpayers from certain administrative penalties where they engage a tax agent or BAS agent and provide all relevant information to that agent.

The Government amendment ensures that the Tax Practitioners Board is able to register all entities that have transitioned into the new regime as registered BAS agents under item 5 for a period of at least 12 months if they seek a further period of registration without having the necessary qualifications (as permitted under item 14). Item 5 allows entities that have been providing BAS services before commencement of the new regime to be taken to be BAS agents for the period of 2 years from commencement.

On 29 October 2009, the Bill was passed by the Senate without amendment. The Bill now awaits Royal Assent.

 In a media release issued on 29 October 2009, the Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry, welcomed the passage of the Bill through Parliament.

The Assistant Treasurer confirmed that the Tax Agent Services Regulations, which contain the registration requirements for tax agents and BAS agents, will be made shortly.

The Assistant Treasurer said that the Bill will become law following Royal Assent with the new regime set to commence on a proclamation date to be announced in the coming weeks.

For a copy of the Minister's media release, No 2009/086, 29 October 2009, go here

For a copy of the Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum, go here


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