Earlier last week, The Tax Institute met with the Tax Practitioners Board at their Consultative Forum. Members will have seen that last week the Board released their Strategic Plan 2013-15. The Board emphasised that the main objective of their existence is for consumer protection by ensuring tax agent services that are provided to the public meet relevant professional and ethical standards.
In this regard, the Board plays an important role in issuing guidance to registered tax agents and the public about the standards that tax agents are required to meet. This is demonstrated by the suite of guidance products that are available on the Board’s website, and which is growing, as the Board continues to issue products on aspects of the Code of Professional Conduct (among other things), such as on the requirement to take reasonable care and to manage conflicts appropriately.
Currently, of great focus, is the extension of the Tax Agent Services Regime to apply to financial advisers who provide tax advice in the course of providing financial advice from 1 July 2014. The Board is busily working away to prepare guidance to financial advisers who may become subject to the Tax Agent Services regime about what may be required of them, including education and experience requirements, how the Code of Professional Conduct will apply and other elements pertinent to registering with the Board.
The Tax Institute has long held the view that financial advisers who provide tax advice in the course of providing financial advice should be subject to the Tax Agent Services Regime on the basis that it provides a mechanism for the protection of consumers of tax advice. This is consistent with the Board’s objective and role in administering the Tax Agent Services regime. The Tax Institute is continuing to consult with both Treasury and the Board on this matter.
A detailed summary of the meeting will be published for members’ information in a subsequent issue of TaxVine.
Robert Jeremenko CTA is Senior Tax Counsel of The Tax Institute.
The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association in tax. Its 13,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia.