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Qualification as a registered tax agent

ICAEW was approved as a Recognised Tax Agent Association by the Australian Tax Practitioner Board (TPB) on 14 August 2014. ICAEW members in Australia are exempted from a number of obligations when applying to the TPB to be a registered tax agent but they are nevertheless required to meet specific CPD and PII cover requirements in order to qualify.

ICAEW members in Australia who are tax practitioners must be registered by the Australian TPB.

Those who are registered can:

Australian Tax Practitioner Board (TPB) registration

Under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (the Act), Tax and Business Activity Statement (BAS) agents must be registered with the TPB if they provide tax agent or BAS services for a fee or other reward in Australia.

As part of the tax agent registration, a number of criteria have to be met. There are six options for registration based on your qualifications and experience. The options, items 201 to 206, are summarised on the government's website.

ICAEW members with 8 years’ Australian tax experience may apply under item 206 (Membership of a recognised tax agent association). This route is advantageous as no further education courses are necessary. A letter of good standing from ICAEW is required.

ICAEW members without 8 years’ experience may apply under item 201 (tertiary qualifications in accountancy). To apply under item 201, you need:

  • One year’s Australian tax experience;
  • Board approved course in Australian taxation law;
  • Board approved course in commercial law and
  • An equivalence certificate from NOOSR.

Providers of the tax and law courses, including online courses, can be found on the TPB website. 

The process for registering is the same regardless of whether you have joined CA ANZ under ICAEW’s reciprocal arrangements.

When the TPB approved ICAEW as a Recognised Tax Agent Association, it drew attention to two specific areas in which ICAEW members in Australia need to comply. These are CPD requirements and professional indemnity insurance (PII).

CPD

Item 203(a) in Schedule 1 to the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009 (TASR) concerns the requirement that members undertake an appropriate number of hours of continuing professional education (CPE) each year relevant to the circumstances and requirements of the members. The TPB notes the importance of keeping up to date with Australian taxation law, observing that ICAEW members who wish to be registered with the TPB will need to meet the TPB’s CPE requirements.

Although the TPB has acknowledged ICAEW’s assurances around our outputs-based approach to CPD, it still requires any ICAEW member registered as a tax or BAS agent to maintain records in such a way that they can demonstrate that they meet the TPB’s inputs-based 'appropriate number of hours' requirements.

The TPB’s policy requires tax agents to complete a minimum of 90 hours of CPE within a standard three-year registration period, with a minimum of 10 hours each year. For more details see the TPB’s CPE policy for members practising in Australia.

PII

Item 203(e) in Schedule 1 to the TASR requires a member who is permitted by an organisation to be in public practice to have PII. The TPB requires ICAEW members who wish to be registered tax agents in Australia to meet the criteria and set out within the TPB’s specific PII requirements.