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MEMBER 195 writes:

"Can someone please tell me why Big Brother is quick to warn us tax agents that if we over claim on client tax deductions that we could be held accountable, especially in relation to rental properties?

Yet this same Big Brother has made the following Tax Agents.

Recent changes to the Tax Agents Service Act has resulted in Quantity Surveyors needing to be registered as Tax Agents as they are seen to be giving tax advice through the production of tax depreciation and capital allowance reports.

The governing body of Quantity Surveyors (the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors - AIQS) has become a "Recognised Tax Agent Association", enabling full members of the AIQS who have sufficient experience to gain their registration to become Tax Agents.

I guess I should have become a quantity surveyor rather than a tax agent. Then I could be wearing 2 hats now instead of 1. If I can't get a job in quantity surveying I can prepare tax returns as long as I keep my AIQS membership up to date.

I have several clients that have had tax depreciation and capital allowance reports prepared by a certain organisation that prepares these reports either over the phone or by a quick questionnaire that my clients had filled in and faxed or emailed back to them along with the fee.

I believe that these same quantity surveyors also have tax practices in WA that operate under the same name.

I rang the ATO some months ago and asked how can a report be prepared without someone actually looking at the property? The very nice, very efficient (not) girl told me that obviously as quantity surveyors they knew what they were doing. She basically told me that she couldn't see a problem in someone preparing a report with thousands of $ in deductions that could not be substantiated in any shape or form.

Can the Taxation Institute give me an answer to this question? Will my clients pass an audit on a stove worth $ 1,500 or floating floor boards worth $ 18,000, or maybe just maybe garbage bins worth $ 216?

I own 3 properties. I do not own a single garbage bin. My houses do have 6 bins though. 3 Garbage & 3 Recycle. All owned by the Councils!!!!!!!! I just pay my council rates which includes the use of their bins which they empty on a weekly basis for garbage & fortnightly for recycle.

For the record I do actually advise clients against using this organisation if I am aware that they need a quantity surveyor's services. I have also advised the clients who have used their servises that I wish them the best of luck if ever they get audited. They will need it."

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