In its submission to Treasury’s discussion paper on its review of the Tax Practitioners Board, the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers has formally rejected suggestions to raise the primary educational qualification for a BAS agent to that of a diploma level.
BAS agents currently require at least a Certificate IV in Financial Services in bookkeeping or accounting.
“There is no basis for an increase to diploma level for BAS agents. The foundation knowledge required by the BAS agents are able to be properly incorporated in the current Cert IV as prescribed,” the ICB said.
“We note that standards will not be lifted by a simple reshuffling or uplift in the formal qualification levels of any of the agent communities.”
However, the ICB accepts that the current registration framework does not work well for both the tax and BAS agent communities, and that a new approach, with a focus on specified learnings which provide the required skill and knowledge in the areas of service provision by the agent, should be considered.
It believes industry-based training for areas of services that an agent chooses to provide, such as GST, PAYGW, BAS and TPAR, will need to be obtained.
“To lift the ‘standard’ of professional, the qualifications and accreditation must be relevant to the profession, the industry and the services being delivered.
“The generic nature of some areas of qualifications causes extensive time being consumed by areas of study that are not relevant to the aspiring agent.
“We believe the future of the tax profession, agents, the TASA regime and the integrity of the tax system will be better served by a reconsideration of the registration requirements.”
The ICB has also strongly rejected the idea of converting the current three-year registration period into an annual registration, noting that it will “triple the payment processing costs [and] triple the administration”.