On Thursday 19 February, General Manager of Education Ruth Ferraro attended a meeting of the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) Financial Adviser Forum. The TPB issued these key messages following the meeting in addition to the messages above:
Update from the TPB
- The following additional information was noted during the overview provided:
- Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) and SMSF Association (formerly known as SPAA) are now TPB recognised tax (financial) adviser associations.
- One of the TPB’s current key priorities is to ensure operational readiness in the lead up to the transitional and standard registration phases, which commence from 1 January 2016.
- Registrations policy material has been a focus, but further guidance on the Code of Professional Conduct will now receive particular attention.
- The Forum noted the listing of recently issued TPB information products and observed that a range of material continues to be developed in relation to tax (financial) advisers, with the TPB website having a subscribe option to recent updates and eNews. The forum also provided comments and suggestions for the purpose of assisting the TPB in communicating key messages.
- It was highlighted that the TPB appreciates feedback received on discussion papers and other proposed information products, as well as stakeholder support in communicating key TPB messages.
- It was also reiterated that the TPB would welcome being involved in association conferences and webinars to assist in communicating to members as appropriate, with any input or suggestions able to be sent to TPBCommunications@tpb.gov.au
Particular feedback was sought from the Forum on a registration pathway flowchart in relation to the transitional and standard registration phases commencing from 1 January 2016, for the purpose of assisting with communicating relevant key messages. The forum noted that the document would be beneficial and provided comments and suggestions for the purpose of assisting the TPB to progress finalising this document as appropriate.
- Preparatory work is continuing in relation to extending coverage of the TPB registered agent symbol to tax (financial) advisers – in particular, a tax (financial) adviser would be entitled to use the symbol when they are registered or renew under the standard registration option (effectively from as early as 1 January 2016, subject to receiving requisite external approvals for extension of the symbol).
Professional practice issues
- To assist the TPB in scoping out issues and establishing an appropriate forward work program for professional practice guidance, feedback was sought on proposed forward work program priorities and suggested scenarios in relation to providing initial guidance on the Code of professional conduct (Code) for tax (financial) advisers.
- For the purpose of assisting the TPB to progress this activity as appropriate, the Forum provided comments and suggestions in relation to example scenarios pertaining to the following Code items:
- Code item 6 – confidentiality: Unless you have a legal duty to do so, you must not disclose any information relating to a client’s affairs to a third party without your client’s permission.
- Code Item 9: You must take reasonable care in ascertaining a client’s state of affairs to the extent that ascertaining the state of those affairs is relevant to a statement you are making or a thing you are doing on behalf of the client.
- Code Item 10: You must take reasonable care to ensure that taxation laws are applied correctly to the circumstances in relation to which you are providing advice to a client.
- Code Item 5 – managing conflicts of interest: You must have in place adequate arrangements for the management of conflicts of interest that may arise in relation to the activities that you undertake in the capacity of a registered practitioner.
- It was observed that while the TPB will leverage information sheets that already exist for registered tax and BAS agents, separate information will be developed for tax (financial) advisers, having regard to their specific context. The information will include examples and consideration of the interaction of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
- It was also noted that pre-exposure draft material is expected to be provided at future forum meetings for feedback, prior to releasing as exposure drafts for wider public comment. Forum members who would like to provide any feedback or suggestions can email Neil Pegg at firstname.lastname@example.org
Members who seek further information in relation to the above should contact us at Tax Policy.