What are BAS agents?
A BAS agent is a licensed bookkeeper, who has education, experience and insurance!
The tax practitioners board (TPB) is a government department to licence tax agents, BAS agents & financial planners.
If your current bookkeeper isn’t a licensed BAS agent, the services they may invoice you for are quite limited, here’s a table current as at 1/6/16 showing different services that can be provided for a fee.
BAS agents have access to the ATO portal and are entitled to extended lodgment and payment deadlines for their clients * conditions apply!
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BAS service is defined in the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA) as:
- ascertaining or advising about the liabilities, obligations or entitlements of a client under a BAS provision; or
- representing a client in their dealings with the Commissioner of Taxation in relation to a BAS provision; and
- where it is reasonable to expect a client will rely on the service to satisfy liabilities or obligations or to claim entitlements under a BAS provision.
The term ‘BAS provision’ is defined in Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 as:
- Part VII (collection and recovery only) of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986
- the indirect tax laws, including
- the goods and services tax (GST) law
- the wine tax law
- the luxury car tax law
- the fuel tax law, and
- Parts 2-5 and 2-10 in schedule 1 of the Tax Administration Act 1953, which are about the pay as you go (PAYG) system.
The TASA also provides that the Tax Practitioners Board may, by legislative instrument, specify that another service is a BAS service.
There are significant civil penalties for anyone providing BAS services for a fee or reward, or advertising BAS services, while unregistered.
For detailed information about the meaning of BAS service, refer to section 90-10 of the TASA.
Declaring certain services as BAS services
On 1 June 2016, Tax Agent Services (Specified BAS Services) Instrument 2016 was registered.
The legislative instrument allows BAS agents to provide certain services that extend beyond the legislative definition of BAS provision without the requirement to be a registered tax agent. These additional services are as follows:
- services under the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 to the extent that they relate to a payroll function or payments to contractors
- determining and reporting the superannuation guarantee shortfall amount and any associated administrative fees
- dealing with superannuation payments made through a clearing house
- completing and lodging the Taxable payments annual report to the ATO, on behalf of a client
- sending a tax file number declaration to the Commissioner, on behalf of a client
- applying to the Register for an Australian Business Number, on behalf of a client.
An explanatory statement accompanies this legislative instrument.
Examples of BAS services
This table includes a non-exhaustive list of the types of services that may and may not constitute a BAS service under the TASA.
|Service||BAS service||Not a tax agent service or BAS service|
|Applying to the Registrar for an ABN on behalf of a client.||X|
|Installing computer accounting software without determining default GST and other codes tailored to the client.||X|
|Coding transactions, tax invoices and transferring data onto a computer program for clients through processes that require the interpretation or application of a BAS provision.||X|
|Coding transactions, tax invoices and transferring data onto a computer program for clients through processes that do not require the interpretation or application of a BAS provision.||X|
|Confirming figures to be included on a client’s activity statement.||X|
|Completing activity statements on behalf of an entity or instructing the entity which figures to include.||X|
|General training in relation to the use of computerised accounting software not related to client’s particular circumstances.||X|
|Preparing bank reconciliations.||X|
|Entering data without involvement in or calculation of figures to be included on a client’s activity statement.||X|
|Confirming the withholding tax obligations for the employees of a client.||X|
|Services declared to be a BAS service by way of a legislative instrument issued by the TPB.||X|
|Preparation and provision of a payment summary that may include reportable fringe benefits amounts and the reportable employer superannuation contributions,||X|
|Registering or providing advice on registration for GST or PAYG withholding.||X|
|Services under the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 to the extent that they relate to a payroll function or payments to contractors.||X|
|Determining and reporting the superannuation guarantee shortfall and associated administrative fees.||X|
|Dealing with superannuation payments made through a clearing house.||X|
|Completing and lodging the Taxable payments annual report to the ATO on behalf of a client.||X|
|Sending a TFN declaration to the Commissioner on behalf of a client.||X|
Labour hire firms and service trusts
Where a service trust or labour hire entity provides services to a client and the client can reasonably be expected to rely upon the service to satisfy their liabilities or obligations or claim entitlements under a BAS provision, the service trust or labour hire entity may be providing a BAS service and be required to register as a BAS agent.
Generally, a service trust or labour hire entity is unlikely to be required to register where there is another registered entity (including a registered individual) which is providing the BAS service and it is that entity which is directing the services being performed by the personnel provided by the service trust or labour hire entity.
If you operate a labour hire/on-hire firm and are unsure if you are required to be registered, please refer TPB information sheet Labour hire/on-hire firms TPB(I) 26/2016
If you operate a service trust and are unsure if you are required to be registered, email us at email@example.com
Registering to provide BAS services
You can apply for BAS agent registration as: