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Small business 'should be aware' of unregistered BAS Agent dangers

07 April, 2015

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Australia has warned small business operators and members of the public about the activities of unregistered BAS Agents who are currently advertising their services and operating throughout Australia.

AAT has warned those using the services of BAS Agents and bookkeepers to check carefully that they are registered.

"The use of unregistered BAS Agents can result in serious business and financial loss for those using their services," AAT Chief Executive Officer Stuart Norman said .

AAT's public warning follows a letter-writing campaign by the Association to Federal Government ministers, alerting them to the prevalence of unregistered Agents and urging them to provide additional resources to the Tax Practitioners Board in the May Budget to allow it to increase its investigation and compliance activities against unregistered Agents.

"The activities of unregistered BAS Agents is particularly relevant with the Government embarking on its tax reform consultation process," Norman 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."

AAT Australia is the peak body representing the country's largest professional body in the accounting / bookkeeping sector. AAT has over 2000 members and provides a commitment to high standards, professionalism, recognition and status for professionals including BAS Agents, self-employed bookkeepers; payroll officers and other accounting support staff.  AAT members are mostly small business people in their own right and provide essential services to other small businesses who are their clients.

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 they the agent is negligent. In addition unregistered agents may not have the qualifications or experience required of a registered agent and may not have Professional indemnity insurance cover.

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