A tax agent or accountant can help you lodge your tax return, claim more deductions and get you more tax back.
Using a professional tax accountant has many benefits. Tax returns can be tricky, and tax agents can help you prepare and submit your tax return. They are generally accountants registered to provide tax-related advice. Tax agents liaise closely with their clients to help them claim as many deductions as possible and get the biggest tax return. They can also help and provide advice for managing your taxes throughout the year.
Choosing a tax agent
What is an accountant?
Accountants are professionals that specialise in expenses, financial audits, and other finance-related information. They may operate independently, providing advice to individuals, or they may operate within a business, performing bookkeeping duties. Accountants can act as tax agents, but in order to do so they must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board.
What is a tax agent?
A tax agent is a specialist you can use to prepare and lodge your tax return. They can represent their client when dealing with the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Tax agents can assist you to get the most money back from your tax return. They must be registered with the overseeing organisation for tax professionals, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), to charge a fee for their service. Every tax agent accredited by the TPB meets the Board’s qualification and experience requirements.
Compare tax agents in Australia
There are thousands of registered tax agents in Australia, some of which are listed below. Have a read of this page for information about how to pick a winner.
|Online Tax Australia||Complete your tax return online for Online Tax Australia to review and lodge. Personal, rental and sole trader tax returns accepted.||Pay your tax return from your refund for an administration fee.||More info|
|H&R Block||H&R Block can complete your return for you or you can do it yourself online and a H&R block tax agent will review your return before sending it off.||SMSF tax solutions, reviewing, amending and lodging returns before they’re sent in. H&R Block also offer provide a seniors service.||Assisted returns start from $70 for people under 21||More info|
|ITP||ITP provide tax returns for individuals, sole traders, companies and partnerships.||Home loan counselling and financial planning, ITP also offer SMSF and startup business support.||Prices are set case by case||More info|
|etax||Personal tax, rental tax, family tax, sole trader, tax returns and more. Etax have a DIY online assisted service twice checked by etax accountants before being sent it.||Simple online interface. Tools and calculators for users to make upload and review process easy.||More info|
|ezytaxonline.com.au||An online tax agency providing personal and business tax solutions.||Ezytaxonline specialise in tax returns for backpackers, agent fee can be paid from the refund.|
|Taxbackaustralia.com.au||Specialises in super refund tax returns for backpackers and travellers who have worked in Australia.||Get a free tax refund estimate, this online tax agent also can help overseas workers claim back superannuation.||Prices are set case by case|
|TaxBack||Income tax refunds for students, travellers, seniors and other individuals, good for people who have been working in the UK and NZ.||No tax agent fee if you don’t get a refund. Other services: Tax compliance, royal refunds, contractor services, international payroll and money transfers.||9% + handling fee (20% of the 9% fee amount) if your tax refund is over $1100AUD, if refund is less the fee will be $99 + handling fee (20% of the $99 fee, or $19.80). Can be deducted from the refund.||More info|
|Navado||Personal, company, partnership, trusts, SMSF & NPO tax returns.||Novado offer face to face consultation at their offices in 4 major metropolitan areas throughout Sydney.||More info|
|Tax Return 24/7||Personal, rental property, CGT, BAS, Trusts and more.||Over the phone tax interview for individuals and businesses.||More info|
|Mr. Tax||Tax return completed over the phone, Mr. Tax provides a simple and fast way to get your tax refund.||Tax services for companies and trusts as well as individuals. Mr Tax agent fees can be paid from your refund.||Individual tax returns from $99|
|Backpackers Buddy||Personal, superannuation refund, obtaining a visa, finding employment and BAS.||Online tax solution for travellers visiting Australia returns in as little as 12 hours.|
Tax agents versus accountants - which is best for me?
As mentioned, tax agents are normally TPB-registered accountants. If you require a relatively simple tax return, or if you simply don’t want to complete one yourself, tax agents might be ideal. If, however, you have a business or are an individual with property and significant financial assets, an accountant might be necessary for handling these assets. Broadly, accountants will take their clients' future financial situation into consideration, whereas tax agents will not.
Will using a tax agent help with my tax return?
Online services such as the ATO’s myTax have made preparing and lodging your own tax return possible, if you have the time. Still, unless you’re a tax agent, the yearly tax return can be a chore. A tax agent can help you prepare and submit your tax return, help you maximise your deductions, ensure that your tax return is compliant and can assist with slightly more complicated matters if you have assets. But remember that you are still responsible for your final submitted document. The fee for hiring a tax agent is tax deductible, too.
Key benefits of using a tax agent
- Takes the stress out of competing your tax return.
- Saves you time, as they lodge your return for you on your behalf. Completing the form yourself can take hours.
- Can help get you more tax back by claiming more deductions.
- You can claim the cost of a tax agent as a deduction the following year.
- You can wait until into the new year to lodge your return if you use a tax agent. If you do your own tax, your return must be submitted to the ATO before the 31st of October.
- A tax agent can also provide personal advice in areas of taxation law.
- Many tax accountants can help lodge your tax return online, without needing to go into their office.
Any cons of using a tax agent?
- There is a fee for their service
- They will not provide general financial advice that isn't to do with tax
What qualifications should my tax agent have?
Tax agents must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) before they are able to charge for their service. Some practitioners can give advice and act as tax agents without being registered, as long as they are operating under a group that is registered by the TPB.
To be eligible as a registered tax agent, the individual must have a good record with no recent convictions, involvement in tax exploitation, ongoing bankruptcies, or imprisonment. Once registered, practitioners can bear the TPB registered symbol. You can find registered agents by visiting the Tax Practitioners Board website.
How do I find a cheap tax agent or accountant that best meets my needs?
Finding a good tax agent is similar to finding a good quality service of another variety. Seek out many quotes from many different sources and consider the following features:
- Fees. How much do they charge to complete a basic tax return?
- Types of returns. Can they perform more complex tax returns, such as those required by SMSFs, small businesses, sole traders and people with various income streams?
- Credentials. Make sure they are registered with the Tax Practitioners Board
- Qualifications. Check they have a relevant university degree such as accounting, commerce or law and how long they have been operating.
- Speed. How long will it take them to complete your tax return?
- Delivery mode. Can they help you online, or do you need to visit their office?
- Hours of operation. If you work standard business hours, it can be beneficial to find a tax agent open on weekends.
- Reputation. Do they have good reviews from past clients? Do you have any family and friends that have had a good experience with them?
- Do they specialise in any area? Some tax agents may specialise in tax returns for students, backpackers, seniors, immigrants and emigrants.
Where are you looking to find a tax agent?
Have a look at tax agents in each of the capital cities.
Wait, I have more questions!
Where can I find a list of tax agent professional bodies?
If you want to check whether your tax agent is registered with the TPB, check the database on the TBP website. As well as search for individual tax agents you can also search for recognised professional bodies such as the Association of Financial Advisors (AFA) or the National Tax Agents Association (NTAA). These associations provide ongoing training and education to members and can be viewed as a sign of reputability.
How much does it cost?
Tax agent fees depend on whether you’re a business, company, sole trader, individual, student, senior or partnership and so on. The cheapest services start from about $50 - this is the fee for a semi-assisted online DIY service. The tax agency will review your finished statement before lodging it with the ATO. On the other end of the spectrum is a full-assistance tax return. This type of service involves a face to face or over the phone interview. The tax agent will handle the preparation and lodgement of your return. Costs are generally about double those of the DIY service.
What information do I need to provide to complete my tax return?
This varies depending on the tax agent you choose to complete your return. Some tax agents ask you to upload your documents and other agents ask you simple yes or no questions. General document requirements can include: Your last tax return, health insurance details, information about dependents and spouse, PAYG summaries, Centrelink or pension payment information, any details about income from assets and information about expenses (work, travel, investment and donations for example).