Published on 01 Jul 13
by "TAXATION IN AUSTRALIA" JOURNAL ARTICLE
This article examines Commonwealth, state and territory laws which regulate who may engage in legal practice and who may provide tax agent services. The article is extracted from a much longer paper examining the issues which was presented at the 2013 NSW Tax Forum. In Victoria, at least, a tax agent who gives advice as to income tax matters, or provides documents, in his or her capacity as a tax agent does not give what is ordinarily understood as legal advice and therefore may not engage in legal practice. This fiction is known as the “Felman Bubble”.
The author concludes that, since tax agents provide a significant proportion of the advice about the taxation laws, anecdotally even advising lawyers on a regular basis, the time has arrived for the fictitious Felman Bubble to be legislatively enshrined but accepts that, in the face of the federal–state and state–state rivalries, that outcome will be achieved only with sustained and joint lobby action by the various professional bodies representing tax agents.