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ATO scrutiny on BAS agents of concern ‘a possibility’

The ATO’s public focus on higher risk tax agents could eventually spill into the BAS agent and bookkeeping space, says one association.

Bookkeeper Jotham Lian 22 October 2018
— 1 minute read

Since publishing its first Individuals not in business tax gap report in July, the Tax Office has been on the front foot in identifying contributing factors to the $8.76 billion individual tax gap, circling 500 agents of concern who “present a higher risk to the integrity of the system” by deliberately making errors such as over-claiming deductions.


Speaking to The Bookkeeper, Institute of Certified Bookkeepers executive chair Matthew Addison believes the ATO might look to act in a similar fashion within the bookkeeping space in the near future.

“They are concerned with higher dollar value issues and that hasn’t evolved into our space yet,” said Mr Addison.

“However, I do believe there are areas of concern that the ATO have with the behaviour of some agent in the BAS, GST and PAYG withholding space so I expect the ATO will go on a journey and eventually be addressing those agents in the bookkeeping and BAS agent space.

“Their statistics are showing slightly more aggressive behaviours or negligent behaviours or allowing clients to be a little bit more ambitious.”

Further, Mr Addison believes the government’s crackdown on the black economy and plans to reform the ABN system will be key events that bookkeepers will have to follow closely.

“I think there is a tendency in some industries for a bit more cash trading to go on and that cash trading will be partly documented and partly not documented and GST would be taking a battering around some of that,” he said.

“We also see a little bit of the supplier who is charging GST but is not registered therefore they are not submitting that GST on to the Tax Office and I expect through some of the ABN review and some of the black economy work that they will start picking up some more of these suppliers who are not necessarily meeting their correct obligations.”

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ATO scrutiny on BAS agents of concern ‘a possibility’
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Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.