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14 May 1010 On the different treatment of accountants and financial planners

MEMBER 144 writes:

"I agree with Member 135 - see 2010 TAXVINE No 18 (7 May 2010) - we public accountants/tax agents are really the poor relations, in fact, the door mats of the Australian financial sector. We constantly get treated as rubbish by governments, the ATO and other bodies yet without us commerce especially in relation to small business would collapse.

Part of the new Tax Practitioners Board strategic statement says "to work collaboratively with the tax industry" and that their business intent is "To strengthen the integrity of the tax system & tax industry by including all practitioners & regulating them fairly, consistently and with flexibility".

What is the tax industry? Who are tax practitioners? It seems this is only registered tax agents. The Hon Nick Sherry, thanks to lobbying by powerful forces, has autocratically decided to exempt firstly in house advisers and now financial planners for twelve months whilst further consultation is carried out. Hasn't the legislation been passed and if so consultation should be over? Some people do not like it so let us lobby to change it to suit them. This defeats the whole purpose of the new tax agents' regime and the Board’s statements about strengthening the integrity of the tax system, it also goes to show it is really only registered tax agents that will have to comply with new rules and maybe this was the whole purpose.

The Taxation Institute said on 23 April 2010 that they were disappointed with the carve out for financial planners but why aren't they outraged as we all should be. As Members said last week who is lobbying for us and why aren't they going harder to stop the regulations allowing these carve outs from going through?

The new tax agents' regime is a farce and the only ones who will be accountable under these new laws will be tax agents. I pity the first agents that get dobbed in by clients and front up to the Board as I feel they will be made an example of to satisfy Government, the community and vested interest groups. In the meantime financial planners have Storm, Opus etc etc and nothing happens."

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