Want to get your taxes done, quick & easy, good refund, and no stress? If you’re like most Australians, you’ll connect with a tax agent.
The most common reasons people choose a tax agent include convenience, better tax refunds, friendly support and advice, and the confidence of getting your taxes done right.
Another factor is, can you get your taxes online or from home? (Yes.)
Let’s cover some basics – and important consumer information – about tax agents.
What Is A Registered Tax Agent?
Tax agents are accountants who are specially trained in how to prepare and lodge Income Tax Returns. Tax Agents focus on Income Tax. They do taxes for a living, so you don’t have to.
A tax agent is more trained and higher-qualified than a typical accountant. A tax agent has advanced training in accounting, plus special training in tax and law, and extensive tax experience.
If anyone does tax returns or gives tax advice, they must be a Tax Agent, registered by the Australian Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). The Tax Practitioners Board is a government body that controls tax agents and helps protect consumers.
Every registered tax agent should display a TPB logo like the one shown here, including their tax agent registration number.
Tax agents have special insurance policies that cover ‘indemnity’, which means, their insurance protects you, their customer.
Etax is run and operated by a big group of qualified tax agents, working together.
Tax isn’t simple. People have thousands of different sorts of jobs, deductions, investments and life situations. Tax agents figure out how to get the tax refund each person deserves, without setting off the ATO. A tax return might seem simple at a glance, but Australian tax law is actually very complex – tens of thousands of pages worth of tax law. The Government and the ATO change tax rules and audit priorities every year.
Accountants and tax agents are number-crunching machines. It’s what they like to do. They are very good at finding mistakes or numbers that are out of place, then fixing it up. Tax agents read ATO publications and tax law training materials year-round to keep on top of this. They do thousands and thousands of tax returns and spend hours every week on the phone and in meetings with the ATO.
Tax agents do all that so they can make tax easier for you. They get your taxes done right, without a lot of fuss.
The Advantages of Using a Tax Agent
Australians choose an agent for a few main reasons.
- confidence your taxes are done right
- help to boost your tax refund
- spend less time each year worrying about taxes
- expert help when the ATO sends a letter or comes knocking
Another plus about tax agents: As a taxpayer, you are protected by a law called Safe Harbour, which is part of the Taxation Administration Act 1953. Basically, this law means that if your tax agent does something wrong, the ATO can’t blame you for it. It is a consumer protection that every person gets when they use a tax agent.
On top of all that, most agents charge a low fee AND it is tax-deductible.
At Etax you can get all that, plus some great technology that actually makes your tax return a bit more fun. And it’s done in minutes.
How to choose a tax agent
Choosing a tax agent can be tricky, because, you don’t really know the qualifications and background of the business. Plus, there is convenience and price to consider.
Do you want to do it online, from home or work? That’s Etax.
Do you want to make an appointment and go out to an accountant’s office? That’s an option.
A good way to start selecting a tax agent is to look at reviews for tax agents on Google or Product Review. An agent with a lot of bad reviews means, steer clear. An agent with NO bad reviews means you should wonder, are these reviews real?
Tax Agent Fees
Your tax agent fee is just one time per year, and it is tax-deductible.
It’s not a good idea to shop based purely on price. If a anyone claims to do your taxes for $35 or $19, there are usually a lot of hidden fees. If an agent or accountant advertises an crazy-low fee, look closely! Are there hidden, extra fees? Or is the fee “per month”? Be aware and read the details about tax agent fees.
Australians often pay over $150 per year in tax agent fees, however, there are more affordable options like Etax where you can get a great, convenient service.
Are they safe, qualified and experienced?
The most reputable tax agents show you their qualifications and experience. If you don’t see these important business details on a website or shopfront, you should ask.
- Have they been around for a while, or did they just appear? (Remember, you need to trust your tax agent to handle money and deal with the ATO for you.)
- Do they have a proper TPB logo and TPB registration number on their website?
- Do they have high ratings from lots of reviewers on Google and ProductReview? Some tax agents try to hide their customers’ reviews; If you can’t find any reviews, then the reviews aren’t good!
- Do they have other legitimate qualifications like being a CPA Accounting Practice?
- Does their website have a proper level of security?
- Are they certified by any quality assurance standard such as ISO 9001?
- Do they have any IT security ceretififcation like ISO 27001?
- Has the tax agent won any business or customer service awards?
- Does their contact page include a REAL business address (not a residential address) and a business phone and email?
- Do they seem like professional people and a properly-run business – who you trust with your financial details?
Etax is a “yes” to everything above. In fact, Etax is Australia’s most popular tax agent, all online. Etax is also a CPA-certified accounting practice and registered tax agent. Etax even has “ISO 27001” security systems certification – as far as we know, the only tax agents in Australia with this strict level of security. Etax takes tax seriously.
Australia’s Canstar Blue awarded Etax the “Most Satisfied Customers” Award for Tax Agents in 2018
Finish your taxes in just minutes
…and get prefill, deduction tips, live help, see your refund estimate, and it all saves as you go.
Tax Agents Are Not All The Same
At the best tax agent companies, tax-trained accountants and tax agents help you and complete your tax return.
At some tax agent offices, you are served by a person who is not a tax agent or even a trained accountant. They might only have a diploma, or even less training. In that case, they should be supervised by a tax agent. But, it might not be the best level of service and advice for you.
All Etax, you get help from people with at least an accounting degree from a university, PLUS specialised tax training. CA- and CPA-certified accountants and veteran-level tax agents lead the tax team at Etax, including some of the most experienced individual tax agents in Australia, who work right at our Brisbane head office.
Etax has other benefits not offered by most agents including year-round support, saving receipts from mobile direct to your return, plus a special contest that only Etax users can enter – this year one Etax client will win $20,000 cash, tax-free.
What is a BAS agent?
BAS agents are like tax agents, but they specialise in business account keeping and bookkeeping, plus the preparation and lodgement of the Business Activity Statement – the BAS.
Most working Australians never need a BAS agent. But most working Australians DO use a tax agent.
Etax isn’t a BAS agent because Etax specialises in tax for individual workers, investors, students, sole traders… Etax works for people, not companies.
Instant tax refunds
Some tax agents offer “same day” or “instant” tax refunds. Should you go for it?
An “instant tax refund” ALWAYS means higher fees. And for what? You tax refund will take, on average, about 7-12 days. Would you pay an extra fifty, hundred or even more just to get your refund a few days quicker? If you really need some money faster than that, you might be better off asking family or using a credit card, then paying it back as soon as you get your tax refund.
An instant tax refund is actually a high-cost, short-term loan – a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Most same day refund tax agents make you accept an agreement with some serious, important fine-print. Did you read it? It probably includes extra fees, late repayment penalties, and interest charges that kick in if your actual ATO refund ends up lower than the original estimate. And if they didn’t even show you an agreement and fine print, that’s an even bigger worry!
You can read more about instant tax refunds here.
Do most people use a tax agent?
Yes – most Australians use a tax agent.
In fact, 74 per cent of tax returns are lodged via a tax agent. That number changes very little from year to year.
Tax agent reviews
One way to check the quality and service of a tax agent is to simply look at tax agent reviews posted by other Australians. Are most of them happy? Does the company reply if there’s a problem? Are there lots of reviews, or just a few?
If you can’t find any reviews for a business, for example the reviews section isn’t there on Facebook, then the company is probably hiding reviews. That’s usually a sign of a problem.
Australians post thousands of tax agent reviews and comments every year. Interestingly, they are mostly about Etax. To everyone who’s posted a review, done an Etax survey or sent a thoughtful idea, thank you!
This is so rewarding and motivating for our people at Etax. We collect feedback and ideas from users, year-round, and after tax season we get to work on improving for the next year.
Reviews of Etax at the top review sites:
Easy to use, easy to follow, excellent service! Have used this service a number of times and it’s great. I don’t need to look anything up it’s all there for me.
-Jules in Tasmania, from ProductReview, July 2019
Thank you to a great team of people who deliver the best service.
I have been doing my tax return with Etax Accountants since 2010, the process is simple and the guidelines easy to follow. Communication is efficient and prompt, very helpful and the service is amazing.
-Pamela, from Google Reviews, July 2019
Easiest Tax Return Ever!
Easiest tax return I’ve ever done. Incredibly simple, step by step process that helps you get the maximum return you are fairly entitled to. I’ll be using this system every year from now on!
-Griffinlay99, from ProductReview, July 2019
Easy to complete with excellent support
I have used Etax on a number of occasions over the years, Simple, Easy. I will never use another agent again. Very happy with the support and accountants are very helpful and thorough.
-L.Bonaddio in NT, from ProductReview, July 2019
I’ve been using Etax for my last 6 returns!
The website is easy to use and they have a fantastic team to help and support you if required. There is a fantastic refund estimate tool that updates in real time which I love. They are quick, easy and hassle free. Highly recommended
-Ness76Adam P., from Google Reviews, July 2018
Etax made my tax return very easy and I would be very happy to recommend them to anyone who is looking for an affordable and easy way to do their return I certainly will keep on using them as long as I need to.
-Joseph C. in Victoria, from Product Review, July 2018
Easy, fast, efficient
Easy to understand, fast and efficient, second year using etax and will continue to use in the future would recommend etax to anyone wanting a painless easy to use experience.
-Todd in Queensland, from Product Review, July 2019
I’ve done my tax refund in literally seconds, amazed. The actual process step by step is very easy to use nothing complicated. Thank you very much for your service. I will definitely use it next year.
-Lorenzo in NSW, from Product Review, July 2019
Such an easy service
…and very happy with my returns for the past few years! Be hard to go elsewhere now!
-Malcolm S., from Facebook, July 2018
I’ve been using Etax for nearly ten years…
and doing tax returns has never been so easy. Literally just a few minutes of your time and you’re done. Previous form data is saved allowing you to automatically have previous details entered if you’re short on time. I highly recommend this company, you won’t be disappointed.
-Calder P., from Google Reviews, July 2019