Would you hire an unregistered plumber? How about an unregistered electrician? You wouldn’t, right? Then why would you risk using an unregistered BAS agent? The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) can’t help but wonder.
Why give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar through the wrong tax collector?
It’s almost BAS time again. Understandably, many people hate BAS time. Every three months seems to come around far too quickly. But since you can’t escape it, you might as well do it properly.
“There is little incentive or encouragement for small business to use a registered BAS agent, regardless of the risks in not doing so,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.
Under section 25-5 ITAA 1997, taxpayers can claim a deduction for the cost of using a tax agent completing their tax return. Unfortunately though, no such provision exists for businesses using the services of a registered BAS agent for BAS preparation.
Of course, the Tax Agent Services Act (TASA) does penalise anyone offering BAS agent services without registering with the Tax Practitioner Board (TPB) but, TASA is still doing little to encourage small businesses to deal only with registered BAS agents.
Many businesses have no idea that using an unregistered practitioner could be to their own peril and may result in hefty penalties. TASA is here to protect the public from risks associated with dealing with unqualified or unskilled BAS providers.
BAS services must be provided by registered practitioners. However, it is interesting to learn that there are only 14,000 registered professionals servicing Australian businesses and yet, there are more that 2.4 million businesses in Australia. Clearly, it is inevitable for Australian businesses to engage the services of unregistered people. There simply aren’t enough registered BAS agents.
However, we are hoping that encouraging small business operators to deal only with registered agents will force more providers to come within the regulatory environment and fill the obvious gap.
“We recommend deductibility for the costs of registered BAS agent services and an amnesty for illegal operators to come forward and seek BAS agent registration,” said Conway.
The introduction of tax deductibility for BAS agent services will improve the integrity of information being reported, by identifying unregistered practitioners who may not have the necessary education and experience requirements.
So are you a business owner? Then save yourself from the unnecessary risk with this simple question – ‘Are you a registered BAS agent?’ That isn’t so hard, now is it?