Business owners have to keep up with a lot of tax reporting. You’ve got your annual personal income tax return and business tax returns, plus BAS documents to report your GST every month or quarter. Gone are the days when you could just plug your group certificate figures into the tax forms and hopefully get some extra spending money back!
As your investments and business enterprises grow, you’re dealing with many income sources, different tax rules and potentially hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of individual transactions. Keeping up with recording and reporting business obligations, plus your personal taxes becomes a challenging and time-consuming task.
Fortunately, there are people who can help you. BAS agents and Tax agents are specialists in preparing and lodging various tax documents and providing tax advice. Tax agents have existed for many years and are able to prepare just about any tax return and lodge it for you, including BAS.
The Tax Agent Services Act 2009 introduced “BAS agents” to better regulate and improve the standard of bookkeepers providing BAS-related services. BAS agents are limited to BAS-related services only, mainly dealing with GST reporting and advice. The upside is you can hire a BAS agent or Tax agent and know for sure that they’re trained, experienced and can get results for you in their area of expertise.
Benefits of a Tax Agent
Tax agents are specialists in preparing and lodging Income Tax Returns and providing tax advice. A tax agent will help you:
- Find deductions you’d never have found on your own.
- Maximise your finances while staying within safe and legal parameters set out by the Australian Tax Office.
- Organise your files for the following financial year.
- Extend your reporting deadline beyond the normal October 31st date.
Benefits of a BAS Agent
BAS agents are specialists in preparing and lodging Business Activity Statements and providing other BAS related services and advice. A BAS agent will help you:
- Prepare and lodge accurate BAS documents on time
- Extend your reporting deadline beyond the normal deadlines.
- Maximise your financial position while staying within the safe and legal parameters set out by the Australian Tax Office.
Common advantages of using a Registered Agent
Choosing to use an agent provides a number of common benefits. Having an extended reporting deadline is a huge advantage as it gives you longer to get your finances in order and make any required payments. Both types of agents must maintain professional indemnity insurance, which is an important protection for you as a customer.
If the agent makes a mistake or omits information that causes you a financial loss, you’ll be able to seek compensation. You’ll have access to “safe harbour” provisions under the Tax Administration Act 1953. Of course, the agent also has the training and experience required to produce accurate, complete documents faster than most people could on their own.
Training and Experience Requirements
Tax agent or BAS agent registration requires the individual or organisation to achieve a number of training, experience and professional requirements.
BAS agents must complete a BAS approved qualification like the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping (more details here), or equivalent/higher level bookkeeping training. They also need 1,400+ hours of work experience and must complete approved courses in GST & BAS principles.
Tax agents commonly have a Diploma or Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, though some agents also come from a legal background, or have been “grandfathered in” after working as an agent for many, many years under previous regulations. Depending on their training, they can also need to complete courses in taxation law, commercial law and accountancy principles, plus a year or more of work experience.
Tax agents and BAS agents must also keep up a schedule of continuous professional development so their abilities are regularly improved. Every registered agent has passed a number of “fit and proper person” eligibility standards and is held to a strict code of conduct. Misconduct results in termination of registration and other penalties. As a result, agents have a strong incentive to act professionally and do top-notch work!
Find a one-stop-shop
To simplify your life and make sure you always have the right agent for the job, find a convenient all-in-one provider of BAS and Tax Agent services. Businesses like Darcy Bookkeeping & Business Services have qualified BAS agents available to handle all your bookkeeping and BAS needs (it is one of their basic hiring requirements!). They also have Tax Agents who can take care of all your personal and business tax return needs. Rather than move paperwork from one agent to the other, it makes a lot more sense to have one organisation take care of all your tax reporting needs in one simple package!