You have rights when buying services from accountants and tax agents.
This page provide information on:
Search the register to see if your accountant, tax agent and/or financial adviser is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board.
Accountants perform functions related to the collection, recording, analysis and preparation of an individual or organisation’s financial operations.
Your accountant may also operate as a registered tax agent (see below) and/or deal with third parties like vendors, customers and financial institutions like the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and Revenue NSW.
Tax agents prepare tax returns on behalf of someone else (either an individual or company) who cannot or do not want to prepare their taxes on their own.
Tax agents must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board. Registered tax agents are the only people allowed to charge a fee to prepare and lodge your tax return.
Your consumer rights
Australian Consumer Law guarantees your rights when you buy goods and services.
In fact, most products and services purchased after 1 January 2011 come with an automatic consumer guarantee that the product or service you purchased will work and do what you asked for. This includes accountant and tax agent services.
When you engage a business to provide a service, you have the right to expect ‘acceptable quality’. Services must be:
- provided with due care or skill (taking all necessary steps to avoid loss and damage)
- fit for any specified purpose (express or implied)
- provided in a reasonable time (when no time is set).
What is ‘reasonable’ will depend on the nature of the service, the difficulty of the task and other relevant factors.
Remedy when things go wrong
You are entitled to an 'appropriate remedy' from the business when the product or service you purchased does not meet one or more of the consumer guarantees.
This might be a refund, a further service to rectify the problem and in some cases, reimbursement for damages and consequential loss.
The type of remedy will depend on whether the problem is minor or major. For more information, refer to our Repairs, replacements and refunds page.
Proof of purchase and documentation
You have the right to receive proof of purchase (like an invoice, cash register receipt, handwritten receipt or lay-by agreement). Suppliers must provide proof of purchase for goods and services worth $75 or more (excluding GST).
If you enter a service contract with an accountant or tax agent, it is your responsibility to be aware of the terms and conditions of the contract before you sign it.
Advertising can be a powerful means of persuasion, so it’s important it is truthful, accurate and easy to understand. Australian Consumer Law protects consumers from deceptive advertising claims and conduct.
Businesses are not allowed to make false or misleading representations about their products or services. This includes advertising for accountant and tax agent services.
Any statement regarding qualifications or experience should be supported and if licensed, the licence number should be printed on any advertising.
Learn more about advertising standards.
"If you believe an accountant or tax agent has breached Australian Consumer Law, contact us on 13 32 20."
Who can help?
There are a number of organisations that provide advice and assistance for complaints and queries regarding accountants and tax agents.
Below is a summary of these organisations, their contact details and a brief outline of their services.
Tax Practitioners Board
The Tax Practitioners Board is the independent regulatory body responsible for the registration and regulation of tax agents, BAS agents, and tax (financial) advisers in Australia. It is responsible for ensuring practitioner compliance with Commonwealth legislation and the Code of Professional Conduct.
The Tax Practitioners Board can help you when:
- there is a breach of the Code of Professional Conduct
- you suspect false or misleading statements were made to the Commissioner of Taxation
- someone advertises or provides tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) advice services for a fee when not registered
- you suspect any other conduct has breached the Tax Agent Services Act 2009.
Refer to the Tax Practitioners Board complaints page for further details.
Certified Practising Accountants Australia
Certified Practising Accountants Australia (CPA Australia) is a not-for-profit member organisation for accountants in Australia. CPA Australia offers education, training and accreditation to members. Accredited members are recognised as Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) and must follow a strict code of conduct set by CPA Australia.
If you believe a CPA has breached the CPA constitution, by-laws, code of conduct and/or applicable Regulations, you can make a complaint to CPA Australia.
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a global professional accountancy body that helps achieve high accounting and business standards in Australia through education and accreditation programs.
To make a complaint against an ACCA member (including firms, affiliates and students), refer to the process outlined on the ACCA website.
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) is a professional body representing chartered accountants in Australia and New Zealand. Members are required to follow a professional code of ethics.
To make a complaint against a member chartered accountant, associate chartered accountant or accounting technician, refer to the process outlined on the CA ANZ website.
Institute of Public Accountants
The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) is a professional accounting body representing the interests of its members. Its primary focus is to develop member capability and meet small business accountancy needs.
If you believe an IPA member has breached the organisation’s professional and/or ethical standards , you can make a complaint on the IPA website.
Can’t find the information you’re looking for? Call us on 13 32 20 or submit an online enquiry.
Who enforces Australian Consumer Law
The following agencies enforce provisions relating to consumer goods and services:
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
- NSW Fair Trading, and
- other State and Territory consumer protection agencies.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for financial products and services.