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The primacy of client privilege: Designing a statutory tax advice privilege for accredited non-lawyer tax advisors


There are several types of professional groups that provide tax advice in Australia: lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors, many of whom are registered tax agents. In many cases, the type of advice provided is the same; however, currently whilst lawyers can extend to their clients a blanket legal professional privilege (“LPP”) over confidential tax advice, clients of non-lawyer tax advisors (“NLTAs”) are presently only granted an administrative concession by the Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”) and then only over a limited range of documents.

This article argues in favour of the enactment of a separate statutory tax advice privilege in Australia for accredited NLTAs and suggests a framework for determining which taxation professionals should be able to offer a tax advice privilege to their clients.

Author profiles

Annette Morgan CTA
Study Period 1 2017 CTA1 - Lecture Presenter - Lecture 4: GST, Lecture 5: CGT and Lecture 6: FBT Annette is a lecturer at Curtin University within the Taxation Area who prior to joining Curtin on a full time basis in early 2011 was employed as a Senior Tax Manager in a Perth based accounting firm. Annette has extensive experience in all areas of taxation gained from more than 25 years working within the taxation profession. Annette is a CTA, FCPA and holds a Masters in Taxation. Annette is also the Deputy chair of the Tax Institutes WA Professional Development committee. - Current at 26 June 2017
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Prof Dale Pinto CTA-Life
Photo of author, Dale PINTO Dale is currently a Professor of Taxation Law in the Curtin Law School at Curtin University. He is the 2018 President of the Divisional Council of CPA Australia (WA Division) and is also a Fellow of CPA Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Tax Adviser and Life Member of the Tax Institute. Dale is the author/co-author of numerous books, refereed articles and national and international conference papers, and is on the editorial board of a number of peer-reviewed journals as well as being the Editor-in-Chief of several refereed journals. Dale is the Chair of the Tax Institute's National Education Quality Assurance Board and is a member of TEQSA's Expert Panel in Accounting and Taxation. Dale served as an inaugural member of the National Tax Practitioners Board and is a current member of the Board of Taxation's Advisory Panel and the ATO's Tax Technical Panel (Superannuation), as well as the Tax Institute's Technical Committees (Superannuation, Not-for-Profit Organisations and Large Business and International). - Current at 14 March 2018
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