Is your Bookkeeper operating legally?

Written on the 17 May 2010 by Deana Scott

New laws affecting those who perform bookkeeping and BAS services on behalf of a business were introduced in March 2010 and provide for clearer regulation in the provision of BAS services.

These new laws require providers of BAS related services be a registered Tax and/or BAS agent in order to continue to provide those services for a fee or other reward. This legislation does not apply to employees preparing their employer’s activity statements in the course of their normal duties.

BAS Agent related services include:

  • Installing computer accounting software and determining default GST and other codes tailored to the client
  • Coding tax invoices and transferring data onto a computer program for clients
  • Reconciling BAS provision data entry to ascertain figures to be included on a clients BAS
  • Filing in the activity statement on behalf of an entity or instructing the entity which figures to include
  • Ascertaining the withholding obligations for the employee’s of clients. This includes the preparation of payment summaries (Group Certificates).

Many practices outsource the above activities to contract bookkeepers or family members (e.g. billed through a service trust). In these instances, if the contractor/family member is not a registered Tax or BAS Agent then the contractor/family member may be exposing themselves to civil penalties of up to $27,500.

Practices should ensure that their bookkeeping and BAS service provider is a registered Tax or BAS Agent. If not, the provider must, by 31 August 2010, notify the Board they are accessing the transitional provisions or register with the Board as BAS agents. Further information on registering as a BAS Agent can be found on the Australian Governments Tax Practitioners Board website www.tpb.gov.au

Registration requirements for BAS agents include:

  • A minimum qualification of a certificate IV Financial Services (Accounting) or certificate IV Financial Services (Bookkeeping)
  • Be a fit and proper person & complies with A Code of Professional Conduct
  • Have more than 1400 hours experience in bookkeeping
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Meet ongoing professional development requirements

If you need to outsource your bookkeeping, we recommend that you use a bookkeeper who not only specialises in medical practices but is a registered BAS agent. Virtual Medical Office is a registered BAS agent and have staff with over 10 years of medical practice bookkeeping and practice management experience. In addition, VMO is highly experienced in the area of medical financial management and fraud detection. For a consultation regarding your practices requirements, please call VMO on 1300 725 145.


Author: Deana Scott