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This week the Government registered regulations relating to the Tax Agent Services Regime. These regulations enact some of the previously announced changes regarding the regime, including clarifying how in-house advisers and custodians are treated and exempting certain services provided within a consolidated group, stapled entities, partnerships and joint ventures.

Importantly, the regulations give effect to the deferral of the Tax Agent Services Regime to financial planners who provide tax services.
The deferral for financial planners will end on 30 June 2011, rather than the previously announced April end date.  The Taxation Institute has been actively raising concerns with the Government about financial planners, their tax advice and the need to have them included in the Tax Agent Services Regime.  We can live with a relatively short extension of the exemption period if it means the difference between a properly considered solution and a flawed one.  Our position remains that we are opposed to leaving financial planners out of the regime, for the reason that increased scrutiny can only be a good thing for consumer protection.

Notwithstanding that there's been an election, we question why the discussion paper on including financial planners has been stalled for almost seven months and look forward to finally seeing it.  The discussion paper will provide extra opportunity to strongly argue the case for financial planners to be included in the Tax Agent Services Regime, so that people receiving and relying on tax advice can expect that the adviser not only meets the new regime's requirements but that they as a client are covered by the protective measures that it offers.

Please see below for details of other activities this week.

Kind regards
Robert Jeremenko

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