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01 Oct 10 On tax and financial advice

MEMBER 295 writes:
“Good day, all.

When I entered this profession 35 years ago it was good. However, gradually it has lost the attraction.
We have the Tax Practitioners Board that hands out BAS Agent certificates to Certificate IV graduates, and lets them advise clients on GST, pay-roll tax issues, income tax and FBT! We, the educated accountants, have to sit back and watch it in silence while clients are given the wrong advice, as we find out about it invariably too late.

On the other hand, if we want to tell a client that it would be beneficial to have his/her own SMSF or, heaven forbid, discuss real estate and negative gearing as a good alternative, we must be careful of every word we utter for fear of contravening the rules governing financial advisers (which we are not)!

Every Tom, Dick & Harry could give tax advice and it is seen by the ATO as 'incidental tax advice'! What a lot of nonsense! What about incidental financial advice and a bit less authority to bookkeepers?
For small accounting firms BAS preparation is the bread and butter of ongoing income. Now this is eroding fast, and we have no remedy.

When the ATO sends out new registrations for ABNs and TFNs they put their DIY literature with it and send it to us - the agents!

We are always the last on the list to be sought for advice!

I also agree with MEMBER 291: some lodge their own tax return because they 'can cheat better'. Yet we have a visit from the ATO checking how well we prepare our working papers!

I think the whole system is up the creek without a paddle."

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