Compare tax agents and find a professional to help you prepare your return next EOFY.
Tax agents can help you prepare and submit your tax return. They are generally accountants who have registered to provide tax-related advice. Tax agents liaise closely with their clients, garner their details, and provide advice about claiming entitlements and more.
Further, tax agents can represent their client when dealing with the Australian Tax Office (ATO), such as when lodging forms. To charge a fee, tax agents must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). Agents who are unregistered can pose a series of hazards for the client.
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 (possibly), the yearly tax return can be a chore. A tax agent is a professional who specialises in creating and lodging a tax return for individuals and businesses.
A tax agent has the qualifications and experience to get the maximum tax return for clients. There are thousands of registered tax agents in Australia, have a read of this page for information about how to pick a winner.
What is an accountant?
Accountants are professionals that take into account expenses, 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.
Choosing a tax agent
|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 senior’s 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). Can be deducted from the refund.||More info|
|Navado||Personal, company, partnership, trusts, SMSF & NPOs 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.|
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 client’s future financial situation into consideration, whereas tax agents will not.
Will using a tax agent help with my tax return?
Yes, and they can do more than just help. They can help you prepare and submit your tax return, help you maximise your deductions, ensure that your tax return is compliant and could 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, to boot.
What I should I take into account when choosing an agent?
If you are dissatisfied with the service you have received from a tax agent, you can take your complaint to the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) where your claim will be dealt with impartially.
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, generally. 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 good tax agent or accountant?
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 get a sense of the landscape: how much an agent’s services cost, which services they provide, etc.
Once you find a tax agent, you can ensure they are registered by visiting the website of the Tax Practitioners Board. Here you can verify if your tax agent is registered, unregistered, or has even had their registration suspended.
Have a look at tax agents in each of the capital cities.
Key information about how to find the best tax agent
Have a read of this to get up to speed about tax agents.
IMPORTANT: How is a tax agent different to an accountant?
Know when an accountant is suited over a tax agent and when to use a BAS agent.
- A tax agent deals in preparing and lodging your personal and/or business income tax return and maximising your returns. Although an accountant is able to submit your income tax return, this service is not their speciality.
- An accountant specialises in making sure you earn the highest taxable income.
- A BAS agent is a type of accountant which specialises in handling a business's books.
A tax agent is a specialist you can use to prepare and lodge your tax return. A tax agent can get you the most money back from your tax return. A tax agent must be registered with the overseeing organisation for tax professionals, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).
Taxation Practitioners Board
There are thousands of TPB accredited tax agents in Australia. The TPB sets the bar for Australian tax agents, BAS agents and financial advisors. Every tax agent accredited by the TPB meets the Board’s qualification and experience requirements. Ensure you tax agent is TPB accredited to get the highest level of service, only TPB accredited tax agents can charge a fee for their service.
Tax agents provide the following benefits:
- You can claim a tax agent fee as a tax deduction.
- A tax agent can ensure you get top dollar by including every deduction you’re legally entitled to receive. Tax Agents are professionals and should know the system inside out.
- A tax agent can get you your tax refund sooner. The usual turnaround time between lodging your tax return and receiving your tax refund can be up to two weeks.
- 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.
What can a tax agent do and what can’t do?
Tax agents are tax experts and can offer these types of services:
- A tax agent will work out what you owe, what you’re entitled to get back and will lodge your return with the ATO.
- A tax agent can lodge your return months after the October 31st cut-off time.
- A tax agent is a liaison between you and the ATO.
- A tax agent can also provide personal advice in areas of taxation law.
What can’t a tax agent do?
A tax agent will not provide the following services:
- A tax agent won’t give general advice.
- A tax agent is not responsible for business data entry.
- A tax agent will not prepare bank reconciliations.
- A tax agent is not responsible for contracting other tax and business professionals.
Your tax agent must have a university degree or years of experience in the industry to register with the TPB.
- A degree in accounting, law or relevant course.
- A number of years experience depending on the agent’s status with recognised professional bodies.
- Your tax agent may also have been required to complete Tax Practitioners Board Approved Courses depending on previous study and qualifications.
You need to start your comparison of tax agents based on TPB accreditation, you can see a list of accredited individual tax agents and organisations by searching the database on the TPB website. There are thousands of listings, points you can use to compare to find the right tax agent.
Recommendations from friends, family or business colleagues are worth their weight in gold.
The size of the firm
Larger firms have generally been in business longer than individuals. The size of the company can be an indication of reputability.
Does the firm or professional have other specialities
Some tax agents and tax agencies specialise in providing services for backpackers, seniors, immigrants and emigrants, SMSFs, partnerships etc. If you fall into one of these categories it would make sense to use an agent with the relevant experience.
We all have a price range and some tax agents will be more expensive than others, you will be paying for the points listed above 1 to 3.
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 are full-assistance tax returns. This type of services involves a face to face or over the phone interview and the tax agent will handle the preparation and lodgement of your return and costs about double 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).
This article discusses how to compare tax agents and accountants online in Australia. Committing to a tax agent is an individual decision. The cost mentioned for a tax agent is validated at the time of publishing this article and may vary with time and benefits. Users are requested to check all joining formalities carefully before applying.