The Tax Practitioners Board has now registered the Tax Agent Services (Specified BAS Services No. 2) Instrument 2020, expanding the scope of BAS services to include additional services relating to the superannuation guarantee charge (SGC).
The change will allow BAS agents to advise on the offsetting of late payments of superannuation contributions against the SGC, including completing the late payment offset election section of the SGC statement; representing a client in their dealings with the Commissioner of Taxation, including the lodgement of SGC statements; being an authorised contact in relation to the superannuation guarantee and SGC accounts; and accessing the superannuation guarantee and SGC accounts in online services.
BAS agents will also be allowed to be an authorised contact for payment arrangements, requesting penalty remissions, and for any audit or review activity.
“The new legislative instrument provides additional certainty and clarity for BAS agents around the services they are able to offer relating to the superannuation guarantee and SGC,” TPB chair Ian Klug said.
“BAS agents are bound by the Code of Professional Conduct and must not provide the services if they do not have the requisite skills and competency.”
The change in law has highlighted the fractious relationship between the tax and BAS agent communities, with the professional accounting and bookkeeping bodies trading barbs during the consultation period.
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand outrightly opposed the expansion of BAS services, deeming it as scope creep and labelling it as “excessive, undesirable and unacceptable”.
CPA Australia accepted that the legislative instrument would bring certainty to BAS agents but remained concerned that the current educational and experience requirements for BAS agents had not been reviewed and enhanced to take into account the expansion of services.
Expressing indignation, the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and the Australian Bookkeepers Association hit back by noting that BAS agents had long assisted clients in meeting their SG and SGC requirements, and that the legislative instrument simply removed an administrative hurdle by allowing BAS agents to access relevant information on online services and represent clients in dealings with the ATO.
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.