Whether you’re looking for individual tax returns, sole trader/ABN returns or company returns, tax agents are certified accountants who are trained in preparing and lodging Tax Returns. They are more suited for taking care of your taxes than any typical accountant. A tax agent has advanced training in accounting as well as special training in tax and law, usually with a large amount of tax experience.
Tax agents must be registered by the Tax Practitioners Board to be able to give tax advice or do your tax returns. Only registered tax agents have the right to charge a fee to prepare and lodge tax returns, according to the ATO guidelines. The Tax Practitioners Board is a government body that controls tax agents and helps protect consumers. If you come across an unregistered tax agent claiming to help you with your taxes, perhaps at ridiculously low prices or with unlawful techniques, it is important to remember the risks associated with using an unregistered tax agent:
- The service you receive from the unregistered tax agent may not be competent and may not comply with professional and ethical standards.
- If the unregistered tax agent does not lodge the tax return for you by the required due date or makes any false or misleading statements to the ATO (for example lodging incorrect return or BAS), the ATO may penalise you.
- The unregistered tax agent may not have professional indemnity insurance cover to offer you a compensation in case you suffer any losses due to an error caused as a result of their service.
- Unregistered tax agents may misuse your personal and confidential information for their own selfish gain. Sharing your personal information with an unregistered agent puts your personal and financial affairs at risk.
- If you use an unregistered tax agent, you are not protected by “Safe Harbour” provisions. In fact, using an unregistered tax agent can cost you thousands of dollars in tax bills and penalties.
Safe Harbour is a part of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 which states that you will not be liable for penalties under certain circumstances if you have used a registered tax agent. For instance, if your tax agent failed to lodge a document on time or made an error after you’d provided all accurate documents, your tax agent will be held accountable. However, you will be held accountable for any such errors caused by an unregistered tax agent.
Therefore, to avoid complications and eliminate financial, personal and legal risks, always check whether your tax agent is registered by searching the TPB register.
STAY PROTECTED UNDER REGISTERED TAX AGENTS
Your tax is in more reliable hands if it’s a registered agent. The TPB makes sure that your agent meets the required qualifications and experience, and complies with the Code of Professional Conduct. The TPB also ensures that in choosing your tax agent, they discuss their services with you and demonstrate transparency.
Solution In is run and operated by qualified tax agents working together.
Australian tax law is complicated. Registered tax agents have thorough knowledge to deal with even the most complex of cases. They are in direct contact with the ATO to ensure they are on top of all the tax-related updates. Registered agents also read tax law training materials and ATO publications throughout the year to provide the best services. The Tax Practitioners’ Board also provides further information on why you shouldn’t use unregistered tax agents.
Choose your tax agent wisely and don’t forget to check that they are registered. You can always search the TPB register or even ask the tax agent to show their registration or share their registration number with you. Solution In operates with complete transparency and if you approach us, we have no qualms in showing you our certifications and proof of registration. You can also find us on the TPB register under “Solution In Pty Ltd” in ACT (or refer to our registered tax agent symbol).