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BAS agents defend service expansion plans

Professional bodies representing the BAS agent community have defended the Tax Practitioners Board’s proposal to expand the scope of BAS services, arguing that it aims to overcome an administrative hurdle.

Professional Development Jotham Lian 28 July 2020
— 2 minute read

The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and the Australian Bookkeepers Association (ABA) have now hit back at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand’s submission opposing the TPB’s plan to make it lawful for BAS agents to provide superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) services.

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CA ANZ believes the proposed expansion is inconsistent with the legislated BAS services scope, and that BAS agents’ education and experience are not commensurate with the proposed expansion of services.

However, the ICB and the ABA believe the accounting body’s fears are misplaced, noting that BAS agents have long assisted clients with payroll — including SG — and that they would not provide services they are not competent in.

“BAS agents continue to assist businesses with meeting their SG and SGC requirements as they have been doing since the establishment of the registered agent regime in 2010,” the ICB and the ABA told Accountants Daily.

“This legislative instrument is being put in place to overcome an administrative hurdle in a BAS agents access to information on the ATO online services for agents and relevant interaction with the ATO. 

“BAS agents are currently in the position where they assist a business in the preparation and lodgement of SGC statements, but due to the legal interpretation, without this legislative instrument, are unable to then discuss the form they submitted with the ATO.”

The ICB and the ABA believe SGC services are directly related to payroll and that the TPB’s current proposal clarifies a 2016 legislative instrument where activities in relation to superannuation guarantee administration, the SGC, taxable payment annual reports, TFN declarations and ABN registrations were established to be services able to be provided by BAS agents.

“The imposition of SGC upon an employer is a recalculation of the SG in accordance with the law, documented processes and submitted to the ATO in an ATO-provided format,” the ICB and the ABA said.

“The recent legislative instrument being discussed simply seeks to clarify the intent of the 2016 legislative instrument around the range of SG and SGC services a BAS agent can undertake.

“The consequence of not doing so leaves clients in a difficult position where responsibility for their payroll function could be split between a number of practitioners and, in many cases, payroll is not a function embraced by accountants.”

The professional bookkeeping bodies have also expressed indignation at CA ANZ’s characterisation of BAS agents’ training and education qualifications.

“It is simply incorrect to say that the provision of SG and SGC advice and assistance to business ‘does not align with the education and experience requirement of BAS agents’. It is also incorrect to say that BAS agents do not ‘have the requisite academic and experiential skill sets’,” the ICB and the ABA said.

“While the SG and SGC is included in the payroll training of BAS agents, we would expect to see at least equal training of payroll, PAYGW, SG and SGC in tax agent-related qualifications.

“In order to achieve a productive outcome for the future of all tax professionals, we believe that all tax professionals should have current competency in each of the areas of tax law in which they provide services.”

BAS agents defend service expansion plans
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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. 

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