As members are all too aware, tax is an inherently complex
discipline. As High Court Justice Patrick Keane (as Chief Justice of the
Federal Court at the time) described it: ‘opening the Tax Act is like opening
the door to a parallel universe’. Consumer protection is one of the key
objectives of the Tax Agent Services Regime (TASR) of 2010. The regime aims to
ensure that those people who attempt to navigate their way through this tax
universe have the appropriate professional and ethical standards as well as the
educational qualifications and experience to make the journey safely. This is
particularly important for those people relying on the complex navigation
required: consumers of tax advice.
The Government has now released draft regulations outlining the proposed
registration requirements under TASR for financial advisers giving tax advice.
It is extremely disappointing that consumer protection is not foremost in the
Government's mind in subjecting financial advisers to TASR. I say this because
the draft regulations do not ensure a robust framework that includes
appropriately stringent tax and commercial law educational requirements for
This is clearly
inadequate and risks undermining the fundamental principle of TASR: to protect
consumers of tax advice.
The Tax Institute will continue to relentlessly argue the case on this issue
with the Government and key decision makers in the Parliament. Members who feel
strongly about this may wish to consider writing to Treasury about the content of
the draft regulations and/or contacting your local member of Parliament; (the
Tax Institute is writing to Treasury and key decision makers in any event).
The draft regulations can be viewed here,
and please be in touch with me if you would like any further information.