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Taxation Institute President, Joan Roberts FTIA (Harwood Andrews) and Michael Dirkis FTIA appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Economics Inquiry into the Tax Agent Services Bill 2008 on Friday 6 February 2009. Joan advised the Committee that, although the Taxation Institute supported the general regulatory framework in the Tax Agent Services Bill 2008 (the TAS Bill 2008), we believed there are some issues around the details of its operation and administration that would benefit from further clarification. In particular she highlighted the need to:

  • clarify in the Code of Professional Conduct as to when a tax agent can rely on information provided by a client and when the tax agent needs to seek confirmation of that information;
  • provide the Tax Practitioners Board with a specific discretion to permit a deceased practitioner's registration under the regulatory regime to continue to be conducted under the control of a another registered tax agent pending the sale of the deceased practitioner’s business;
  • confirm the notes within TAS Bill 2008 in relation to the use of trusts in a tax services practice extend to the use of partnerships of trusts as well as individuals or companies; and
  • clarify specialist registration because, while the Bill allows the Board to impose conditions on registration so that persons who specialise in narrow area can register (subsections 20-25(5)-(7)), it would assist to have further examples in the Explanatory Memorandum particularly in the R&D area.  
The Economics Committee also explored two other issues: the need for compulsory Professional Indemnity Insurance and whether an agent could rely on the work prepared by another agent.

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