The Tax Institute welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Treasury in relation to the bundle of exposure draft legislation, regulations and accompanying explanatory materials that form part of the Government’s ‘Response to PwC’ package (Reform Package).
The Reform Package is intended to strengthen the integrity of the tax system, increase certain powers of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), and strengthen the regulatory frameworks to ensure they are fit for purpose. While the Reform Package has been named by the Government, a Response to PwC, our understanding is that the overarching objectives are to elevate the professional standards expected of all advisers operating in the tax system and to provide assurance to the public that these standards will be maintained and enforced appropriately. The Tax Institute broadly supports these objectives.
It is important to ensure the community’s confidence in the administration of the tax system and the fair participation by all taxpayers and their representatives. Most advisers strive to ensure that they meet the community’s expectations and the professional standards of competency and ethical responsibility by which they are held to account. Proposed changes to address the misconduct of a small number of tax advisers should be measured and proportionate. They should not result in an unduly onerous burden on tax professionals, the vast majority of whom generally do the right thing, and should not inhibit the provision of independent, objective tax advice.
The Reform Package includes the proposed:
- Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) reforms contained in the draft Treasury Laws Amendment (Measures for consultation) Bill 2023: Tax Practitioners Board (draft TPB Bill) and draft Tax Agent Services Amendment (Register Information) Regulations 2023 (draft TPB regulations);
- reform of the promoter penalty laws contained in the draft Treasury Laws Amendment (Measures for Consultation) Bill 2023: PWC Response—promoter penalty laws reform (draft promoter penalty Bill);
- whistleblower protection changes contained in the draft Treasury Laws Amendment (Measures for Consultation) Bill 2023: Extending tax whistleblower protections (draft whistleblower Bill) and draft Treasury Laws Amendment (Measures for Consultation) Regulations 2023: Extending tax whistleblower protections (draft whistleblower regulations); and
- increase in information sharing powers contained in the draft Treasury Laws Amendment (Measures for Consultation) Bill 2023: PwC response—information sharing (draft information sharing Bill).