Small businesses warned about the dangers of using unregistered agents

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Australia has issued a warning to small business owners about the dangers of using unregistered BAS agents, who prepare and lodge Business Activity Statements.

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

Unregistered agents are not protected under the safe harbour provisions of the Taxation Administration Act if they are negligent and may not have the qualifications or experiences required of a registered agent.

The public warning is a reminder to small businesses currently using the services of BAS agents and bookkeepers to check carefully that they are registered.

AAT Australia also recently launched a letter-writing campaign in a bid to alert Federal Government ministers to the prevalence of unregistered agents currently advertising and operating in Australia. It proposed that additional resources should be allocated to the Tax Practitioners Board in the upcoming May Budget to improve its investigation of unregistered agents.

“The activities of unregistered BAS agents is particularly relevant with the Government embarking on its tax reform consultation process. The activities of unregistered agents is a threat to revenue,” said Norman.

Only registered agents are allowed to display the Tax Practitioners Board’s Registered Agent logo. For businesses wanting to check whether an agent is registered, use the Australian Government’s search tool here.