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Principles to guide financial planner tax reforms a good start

Publication date: 10 Feb 11 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

The Tax Institute says consumer protection is the key consideration in today's announcement from Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten of principles guiding new regulatory arrangements for financial planners advising on tax.

The Tax Institute has long been advocating that people relying on tax advice should be entitled to expect that their adviser meets the high standards set by the Tax Agent Services regime, and that they are also covered by the sorts of protective measures contained within it, such as safe harbour rules.

The Tax Institute actively participated in the consultation meeting with the Assistant Treasurer in Canberra this week to ensure that everybody giving tax advice is brought into the scope of the Tax Agent Services regime.

Tax Institute Senior Tax Counsel Robert Jeremenko said a key outcome of the meeting was a move towards a strong collaborative arrangement between the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Tax Practitioners Board. Under this regulatory framework, tax advice provided by financial planners will be subject to the Tax Agent Services regime.

"While ASIC will perform a ‘front of house' role with respect to financial planners providing tax advice, the Tax Practitioners Board will be a strong partner in approving, regulating and enforcing the Tax Agent Services regime" Mr Jeremenko said.

"There's more work to be done to define the tax education requirements for financial planners and the scope of tax advice that financial planners may be permitted to offer, but these principles are a good start ahead of further detailed discussions."

Ends

About the Taxation Institute of Australia:  The Taxation Institute is Australia's leading professional association in tax.  Working together with the tax profession they aim to improve the tax system and the delivery of tax services through education, sharing of information and consultation.

For more information:

Robert Jeremenko, Senior Tax Counsel, Taxation Institute of Australia,   T: 02 8223 0011, M 0468 987 300

Craig Regan, Lighthouse Communications, 02 9692 8811, 0408 448 527.