AAT issued the public warning following a campaign to alert the government to the prevalence of unregistered agents, urging it to provide additional resources to the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) in the May Budget to allow the regulatory board to increase its investigation and compliance activities concerning unregistered agents.
Stuart Norman, AAT chief executive officer, said the additional funding and subsequent increased compliance is needed to help protect Australia’s small business sector.
“The use of unregistered BAS Agents can result in serious business and financial loss for those using their services,” he said.
Mr Norman said unregistered agents may also be costing the government, noting that they pose a threat to government revenue.
“The activities of unregistered BAS Agents are particularly relevant with the Government embarking on its tax reform consultation process,” he said.
“The reform process is partly driven by the Government’s need to safeguard revenue sources. The activities of unregistered Agents is a threat to revenue.”
The Tax Practitioners Board has warned that businesses using an unregistered agent are not protected under the safe harbour provisions of the Taxation Administration Act if the agent is negligent.
In addition, the TPB warned that unregistered agents may not have the qualifications or experience required of a registered agent and may also not have professional indemnity insurance cover.
AAT Australia is the peak body representing the country’s largest professional body in the accounting / bookkeeping sector.