This page is designed to give you a quick summation of what is required to become a BAS Agent and the obligations once you become one.
At the bottom of the page are a collection of Quick Links. These links will take you to specific pages on the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) web site to provide more detailed information on the various subjects we discuss in this summation.
Overview of BAS Legislation
The legislation took effect from 1 March 2010 and saw the introduction of the Tax Practitioners Board, a national body responsible for the registration and regulation of tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers (collectively referred to as 'tax practitioners').
If you are a bookkeeper, then unless you have been registered by the Board as either a BAS Agent or Tax Agent, you cannot render BAS Services to your clients. BAS services capture the majority of services provided by most bookkeepers.
The legislation imposes a range of civil penalties for illegally providing, representing that you provide, or advertising that you provide, BAS services. The Federal Court has the power to impose these penalties which can be up to $45,000 for individuals and $225,000 for corporations for each breach.
BAS Agent Registration Requirements
In order to become registered as a BAS Agent, Section 20-5 of the TASA requires a bookkeeper to satisfy the Board through a formal application process that they meet certain criteria.
Firstly, the applicant must be a “fit and proper person”.
Secondly, the applicant must satisfy an educational criterion, which at a minimum requires the attainment of a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping or a Certificate IV in Accounting.
Group 314, strategic partners of ABN, have developed a nationally accredited program meeting the requirements of FNS40215 Certificate IV in Bookkeeping especially for members of ABN. For more information, visit our Strategic Partners page.
Thirdly, the applicant must demonstrate some 1400 hours of “relevant experience” in the past four years.
The 1400 hours relevant experience is reduced to 1000 hours for voting members of a Recognised BAS Agent or Tax Agent Association. Included among these is the Australian Bookkeepers Association (ABA). Membership of ABA is complementary for all members of Australian Bookkeepers Network, or may be obtained for $77 per year for non-members of Australian Bookkeepers Network
Importantly, being a member of a BAS Agent Association will not itself deem you to be a BAS Agent, unless all other registration requirements are met (including 1000 hours of relevant experience).
If you are not a BAS Agent, ABN BAS can provide BAS Services for your clients through a structured program which we refer to as Quality Assurance Reviews & BAS Lodgement. The participation in this program counts as hours of relevant experience. Our Relevant Experience page explains further.
CPE and Other Requirements Once Registered
Once you become a Registered BAS Agent, you are subject to a Code of Professional Conductwhich imposes a range of obligations, one of which is the compulsion to hold Professional Indemnity (P.I.) insurance to a specified level. For further information, visit our P.I. Insurance page.
Another ongoing requirement of registration is continuing professional education (CPE). Any education activity relevant to the BAS services you provide that maintains develops or promotes your skills, knowledge or attributes, is considered to be CPE under the Tax Practitioners Board CPE policy.
For BAS Agents, a minimum of 45 hours of CPE must be undertaken within a standard three year registration period, with a minimum of five hours each year.
As a BAS Agent you are responsible to ensure a record and evidence of the CPE activities that you have completed is maintained. Records of your CPE should be kept for six years, unless you are a member of a relevant professional association in which case records should be kept in accordance with the requirements of the relevant association. The Tax Practitioners Board will request evidence or confirmation of the CPE that you have completed upon renewal of your registration. You may wish to record your CPE on this continuing professional education log.
An ABN membership assists greatly with the meeting of CPE requirements. Broadly speaking the following ABN content would qualify as appropriate CPE:
BAS Agents are also subject to a range of administrative sanctions and civil penalties. Clients of BAS Agents benefit from Safe Harbour provisions which provide relief from penalties in the case of errors or late lodgement by the BAS Agent.
BAS Agent Registration is granted for a period of three years, after which a renewal process takes place.
Public Register and Registered Agent Symbol
The TPB maintain a public register of Registered BAS Agents.
Supporting this system is the concept of a Registered agent symbol. This provides Tax Agents and BAS agents with public recognition that they are registered with the TPB. Agents who meet the eligibility criteria can use the symbol in advertising their tax agent or BAS services, thereby promoting confidence among consumers.
What If Being a BAS Agent Is Not For Me?
Being a BAS Agent is not for everyone. Your personal circumstances may have lead you to decide that you do not wish to become a BAS Agent in your own right.
If this is the case, but you still wish to provide bookkeeping services to your clients, then you should:
- Become familiar with what a BAS Service is. Click here to access the TPB’s web site for examples of the types of services that constitute a BAS service.
- Ensure that if a BAS Service is being provided to your client, it is being provided by a Registered Tax Agent or BAS Agent such as ABN BAS. For further information on the range of BAS Services provided by ABN BAS, please visit our ABN BAS Services page.
TPB Quick Links
The following links are to the various legislative instruments making up the BAS Agent laws:
Tax Agent Services (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2009 (Passed 29 October 2009)