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How to become a qualified BAS Agent

Do you want to become a registered BAS Agent but you're not sure where to start? We've provided an outline of the qualifications and registrations required for this profession.

How to become a registered BAS Agent?

There are many benefits to hiring registered BAS Agents who can correspond with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on behalf of your business and manage your business activity statement. For those that don’t have an accounting background, these services can be complex and difficult to navigate on your own. With such a high demand for these services, those that have a sound understanding of BAS taxation principles are unlikely to be out of work. In addition to job security, this profession gives people the opportunity to help businesses reach their goals.

If you are thinking this might be the career for you, we have designed this page 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) website to provide more detailed information.

Tax agent services regulations

The BAS Agent laws are contained within the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (“TASA”) and two related pieces of legislation, often referred to as the “Regulations” and the “Transitional Rules”.

The legislation took effect from 1 March 2010. It saw the introduction of the Tax Practitioners Board. This is the body that registers and regulates someone when they become a tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser (collectively referred to as 'tax practitioners').

If you are a bookkeeper and haven’t been registered by the Tax Practitioners Board, 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.

Requirements to become a BAS agent

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.

Before you can offer BAS agent services, you need to meet these requirements:

  • Firstly, the applicant must be a “fit and proper person”.
  • Secondly, the applicant must satisfy an educational criterion. This includes the attainment of a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping or a Certificate IV in Accounting through a registered training organisation.
  • Thirdly, the applicant must demonstrate some 1400 hours of “relevant experience” in the past four years.

We have a number of partners who have developed nationally accredited programs meeting the requirements of FNS40215 Certificate IV in Bookkeeping especially for members of ABN. For more information, visit our Strategic Partners page.

Tips to speed up registration

The 1400 hours of relevant experience is reduced to 1000 hours for voting members of a Recognised BAS Agent or Tax Agent Association. That means if you become a member of the Australian Bookkeepers Association (ABA), your experience hours will be significantly reduced. 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 Conduct. This Code imposes a range of obligations, one of which is the compulsion to hold Professional Indemnity Insurance to a specified level. For further information, visit our 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.

Once you become a Tax Agent or BAS Agent, a minimum of 90 hours of CPE must be undertaken within a standard three-year registration period, with a minimum of 20 hours each year.

As a BAS Agent you are responsible for ensuring there’s a comprehensive record and evidence of completed CPE activities. Records of your CPE should be kept for six years, unless you are a member of a relevant professional association. In this 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 register and guide.

ABN content that qualifies as appropriate CPE

-       Bookkeepers Knowledge Base

-       Bookies Bulletin

-       Getting Technical Newsletters

-       ABN Coffee Clubs

-       ABN Conference

-       Bookkeeper Radio

-       Pillars of Public Practice

-       ABN Webinars

An ABN membership assists greatly with the meeting of CPE requirements.

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 maintains 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 led you to decide that you do not wish to become a BAS Agent. However, you might want to keep providing bookkeeping services to your clients, then you should:

  1. Become familiar with what a BAS Service is. Click here to access the TPB’s website for examples of the types of services that constitute a BAS service.
  2. 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.

Please contact us if you need further information on how to become a tax agent or would like any support with your bookkeeping career.

TPB Quick Links

 

Legislation

The following links are to the various legislative instruments making up the BAS Agent laws:

Tax Practitioners Board Overview  

BAS Services Defined 

 

1. Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (2 March 2009)
2. Explanatory Memorandum to the Tax Agent Services Act 2008
3. Tax Agent Services (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2009 (Passed 29 October 2009)
4. Explanatory Statement to the Tax Agent Services (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2009
5. Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009 (Finalised 13 November 2009)
6. Explanatory Statement to the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009

Registration as a BAS Agent

 

Qualifications & Experience Requirements   
Relevant Experience  

Code of Professional Conduct 

 

Professional Indemnity Insurance

 

Continuing Professional Education

 

Renewing Your BAS Agent Registration

 

Public Register of Agents

 

Registered Agent Symbol

 

 

 

 

 

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