Last week my message was to be clear about what you know are the facts and stand your ground. If you didn’t see that you can find it here. It sparked quite a response, particularly from bookkeepers who have clients using software in the cloud.
With the latest technology it’s much easier to work remotely. However that can be problematic when the client doesn’t provide you with tax invoices saying, point blank, that you don’t need to sight them. And therein lies the dilemma. If you worked onsite, you’d be able to search the office for the tax invoices. However, because you’re working remotely, if you don’t have access to those invoices, you know you can’t do your job properly.
So who’s right? You would know about the ATO publication “Record Keeping for Small Business”. The information provided is directed at the business owner. It says “if you are running a business you need to keep records”. One of our licensees rang the ATO and she was told that it wasn’t the responsibility of the BAS Agent to sight tax invoices as the client signs off on the BAS. The ICB says, if the client doesn’t want you to sight the tax invoices, that it’s an “absolute obligation” of the BAS Agent to make sure that is clearly stated in the engagement letter. (The Definitive Guide of the BAS Agent).
However the Code of Professional Conduct outlined by the Tax Practitioners Board says, among other things, BAS Agents must act with honesty, integrity, lawfully and competently. I don’t believe you can do that if you don’t sight the tax invoices. On the basis of that I’ve made a stand in my business, and it’s in our engagement letter, that our clients have to provide those.
Perhaps the solution is with software like Receipt Bank where the client scans the receipts and the information is imported into the data file reducing the amount of data entry. And a copy of the tax invoice is kept on file. Brilliant!