Legislation for the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 has been drafted and is intended to be enacted early in 2010. The new regulations will see that bookkeepers who are currently preparing and lodging Business Activity Statements (BAS) for a fee are now required to meet standard eligibility criteria and must be registered to perform those services.

The new laws will provide a standardised system for the bookkeeping industry and calls on practitioners to achieve and maintain the highest levels of qualification and experience. The industry benefits from knowing that its members are operating to the highest of standards and consumers are able to feel confident that their bookkeeper possesses a relevant and up-to date skill set and has the support of his or her industry as they have proven themselves by meeting the registration criteria.

Specifically, the new legislation will only directly impact bookkeepers who are involved with preparing and lodging BAS. Those who are involved in data inputting to compile a report for the purpose of completing and submitting a BAS can continue to do so under the new laws without being registered but their duties are limited to that task only. However, where large businesses are concerned it is not always necessary for each individual to meet the criteria and be registered independently. Provided that the business is seen to have a satisfactory number of registered individuals and the BAS preparation process is being supervised by those registered bookkeepers or BAS/tax agents then this considered acceptable practice.

Of notable benefit is the ‘safe harbour’ provisions of the new Act. Under the proposed legislation, taxpayers are protected from having to pay administrative penalties for late lodgement or making a false or misleading declaration on the condition that they engaged a registered BAS agent and provided them with all the relevant information to enable the preparation of the document.

As practicing accountants and tax agents the bookkeepers at Quinn Consultants will all be compliant under the proposed legislation. For expert bookkeeping, tax and accounting advice contact us on 1300 QUINNS or click here to submit an online enquiry.