Exposure draft Tax Agent Services Bill

The Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, the Hon Chris Bowen MP, has released for public consultation an exposure draft Tax Agent Services (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2009 and associated explanatory material.

The exposure draft package complements the Tax Agent Services Bill 2008 introduced into Parliament on 13 November 2008 and forms part of the tax agent services legislative package. This package proposes a new regulatory regime to ensure that tax agent services provided to the public for a fee are provided in accordance with appropriate professional and ethical standards.

The key elements of this exposure draft Bill include:

  • transitional arrangements to allow tax agents and nominees registered under the current law to transition smoothly into the new regulatory regime, and similarly allow certain entities to be taken as registered Business Activity Statement (BAS) agents under the new regime;
  • amendments to introduce two ‘safe harbour’ provisions, which constitute key features of the new regulatory regime. The safe harbour provisions exempt taxpayers who engage an agent from liability for an administrative penalty for certain mistakes and omissions where the error is solely due to the agent’s lack of reasonable care; and
  • consequential amendments to existing legislation that will be necessary upon the enactment of the Tax Agent Services Bill 2008, for example the repeal of the existing law relating to the registration of tax agents.

Submissions close on 26 March 2009.

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