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Unregistered agents

Unregistered tax practitioners

Using an unregistered tax practitioner is a big risk

If you use an unregistered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser you are taking big risks, as the unregistered tax practitioner:

  • may not have the qualifications or experience required of a registered tax practitioner
  • may not have appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover.

Additionally, if you use an unregistered tax or BAS agent and they are negligent you will not be protected under the safe harbour provisions set out in the Taxation Administration Act 1953.

Case study – Kate gets caught out

Kate saw a leaflet advertising tax services. The leaflet was distributed by Bob who claimed that he could obtain deductions of up to $3,000 for clients.

Kate used Bob to complete and lodge her tax return and paid him a fee for providing this service. Bob was not registered as a tax agent with the TPB.

When reviewing Kate’s tax return, the ATO found a number of errors and issued Kate with an amended assessment. Kate ended up having to pay additional tax and administrative penalties.

Following a complaint from Kate and other people who used Bob’s services, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) commenced proceedings against Bob in the Federal Court for advertising and providing tax agent services for a fee while unregistered. The Federal Court found that Bob had breached the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 and ordered him to pay a penalty of $32,000.


Look for the symbol or search the register

Make sure your tax practitioner is registered by:

  • looking for the Registered tax practitioner symbol
  • searching the TPB Register.



Report an unregistered tax practitioner

If you know of someone providing tax agent, BAS or tax (financial) advice services for a fee or other reward who is not registered, you can let us know by making a complaint to us.

Further information


Last modified: 10 May 2018