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02 May 1313 Tax Practitioners Board Consultative Forum

On Thursday 18 April 2013, Tax Counsel Stephanie Caredes CTA attended a meeting of the Tax Practitioners Board (Board) Consultative Forum. At the meeting, various issues were discussed.  Following the meeting, the Board has issued these key messages:

Board activity

The TPB provided an update and statistics on the latest registration and compliance activities. The key points were the TPB has:

  • received over 2,000 BAS agent transitional registration applications by the deadline of 28 February 2013.
  • completed over 1,140 compliance cases so far this financial year.
  • investigated or commenced investigating over 500 cases where registered agents have not notified the Board the details of their Professional Indemnity Insurance. Over 20 registered agents have been suspended and a further 53 have surrendered their registration following our investigations.
  • terminated the registration of more than a dozen agents for not keeping up to date with their own personal tax obligations, such as not lodging numerous income tax returns and business activity statements when due.

It was observed that the TPB is continuing to process most registration and renewal applications in a timely manner, noting that there was a peak in regard to BAS renewals received in February. It was confirmed that the Board implemented a communication strategy to encourage transitional agents to renew, with a significant proportion subsequently lodging their registration renewal applications.

There has been recent compliance activity in regard to investigating agents who have yet to notify the Board of their Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance cover (following requests and reminders) and those agents who have not kept up to date with their personal tax obligations, with a focus on the highest risk cases using a streamlined approach.


2013 Tax Practitioners Survey

The Board is working with the ATO to co-ordinate a survey of tax practitioners, wherein a random sample of 2500 tax and BAS agents will receive the survey. This survey is due to close on 3 May and results will be used to inform the Board’s future direction and work program and to understand how the Board can better support registered agents.

The results will be available later this year. Read more about the Tax practitioner research 2013.

Outreach in Perth

The Board is making plans to visit different parts of Australia to host events with tax and BAS agents, Association representatives and financial advisers who provide tax advice.  The first event will be held in and around Perth between 4-6 June, with invitations to be sent over the next couple of weeks to all registered agents in Western Australia.

Board approved course in commercial law

The Board has reconsidered the requirements for a Board approved course in commercial law and presented an in-confidence draft proposed transitional model to the Forum members for discussion.

It was observed that the Board has not received submissions in regard to topic coverage as noted in the TPB guideline TPB (PG) 02/2010: Course in Commercial law that is approved by the Board (initially issued on 30 April 2010 and revised on 13 September 2012), with education providers noting that current product offerings necessitate the need for 3 units to ensure appropriate coverage. However, it was also noted that the Board is flexible in regard to considering innovative products that comprise equivalent topics as noted in the guideline.

There will be ongoing discussions in regard to this issue, although it was noted that the Board is required to report back to the Assistant Treasurer by the end of April 2013.

Financial Advisers

On 8 February 2013, Treasury released exposure draft legislation and an accompanying short paper outlining the framework for the proposed regulation of tax (financial product) advisers by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). Over 30 submissions were received and the TPB is working with ASIC and Treasury.

As part of consultation, the Board has published an exposure draft proposed guideline (draft guideline) outlining the proposed requirements for a course in Australian taxation law for tax (financial product) advisers. The draft guideline is open for comment until 21 May 2013.

Professional Practice

Reasonable care

The inaugural Board received a number of submissions and comments in regard to the two exposure drafts published in September 2012:

  • Exposure draft TPB(I) D15/2012 – Code of Professional Conduct – reasonable care to ascertain a client’s state of affairs.
  • Exposure draft TPB(I) D16/2012 – Code of Professional Conduct – reasonable care to ensure taxation laws are applied correctly.

The Board has considered these submissions and resolved to revise the exposure drafts, including employing a more principles-based approach and a simpler structure. Following revision, they are expected to reissue as exposure drafts for further review and comment.

Other topics

Other topics of professional practice in the future Board work program include:

  • Offshoring/outsourcing (in preparation)
  • Conflicts of interest (in preparation)
  • The impact of technology and obligations under the TASA.

The Tax Institute continues to consult directly with the Board on many of the issues noted above and welcomes comments and feedback from Members on matters for which the Board has responsibility. Please contact us at Tax Policy if you have any feedback or comments or if you require further information in relation to any of the above.