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tax agent vs accountant

Discussion in 'Accounting & Tax' started by Jackson, 30th Jun, 2015.

  1. Jackson

    Jackson Member

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    Can somebody explain the difference between the two?

    Will a tax agent be able to assist you with the lodgement of your tax returns if you have properties plus your personal tax or the better method is to engage an accountant?
     
  2. Property Hoarder

    Property Hoarder Active Member

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    To lodge your returns the accountant would need to be a tax agent. You can technically be a tax agent without being accountant but most who prepare tax returns would call themselves an accountant.
     
  3. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    What you need is a tax agent if you want to lodge a tax return. An accountant cannot lodge tax returns unless they are registered tax agents, nor can they give tax advice. Not all accountants know about tax as this is a separate area. In general speak people say 'accountant' when they often mean 'tax agent'.
     
  4. Paul@PFI

    Paul@PFI Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Member

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    Like Dentists. They are Doctors too. But Dentists aren't GPs.

    Accountant is not a regulated term of description of occupation. Anyone can call themselves an accountant. Some may be members of a professional body and have a practice certificate. But legally one is not required. Some accountants may do non-tax work such as management accounting, cost accounting etc. Being an accountant doesn't mean you know about tax. Some do some don't.

    A tax agent is a regulated professional designation. The tax practitioners board regulates tax and bas agents. The penalties for calling yourself a tax agent or doing tax work are massive. They must have minimum qualifications and experience and be of good character etc etc...ie no bankrupts or offences of dishonesty. They also must have PI insurance. One of the fields of experience is accounting and education in corporations and tax law. There are minimum standards eg a eligible Degree rather than a TAFE certificate in MYOB accounting. There is also a strict requirement for extensive experience in all aspects of tax. A common reason for refused registration is a lack of diverse experience. ie no SMSF experience etc. Qualifications in these endeavours and professional memberships assist a tax agent application get approval.

    A lawyer may also satisfy the requirements and only needs to get a TPB registration if they want to prepare and lodge forms. Lawyers can give tax advice if they are competent in tax law as it is a form of legal advice. But most cant lodge a tax return or give advice on determining a tax liability etc.
     
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  5. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    Yay, I am an accountant now!
     
  6. GregReid

    GregReid New Member

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    Branding yourself as an accountant may not be that good for your social life, but perhaps a rung up from being called a lawyer!
     
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  7. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    Of course I was only joking.
     
  8. Paul@PFI

    Paul@PFI Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Member

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    Welcome. Your personality just fell to the ground. You now posses the power to bore people senseless. :rolleyes:

    Its true though. I cant call myself a financial planner, a lawyer, a doctor etc but anyone can use the term accountant and mislead. If the TPB could outlaw the practice it may stop dodgy people passing off as accountants to lodge a tax return illegally. The fines are pretty steep but they still persist. Many people think accountants can do tax.
     
  9. willair

    willair Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Depends if the #### hits the fan,a tax agent can only take you so far, I was in the line to pay some serious tax a few years back and the Accountant we had for 20 years retired,and I went looking to find a new Accountant walked in three different places,put everything on the table all said the same thing you will have to pay xxxx$$,not one would go the extra mile and go down the private ruling path I just pay the money and walk out..

    The 4th Accountants door I walked in said up front it depends on the wording as to what will happen ,and I think you won't have to pay a cent,and that,s the way it worked,very very hard to find someone who invests and a Accountant face to face,go with the Accountant all those years of study,then more study as each months go by..imho..
     
  10. Jess Peletier

    Jess Peletier Mortgage Broker - Australia Wide Business Member

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    And legitimately wear knitted cardigans.
     
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