Newsletter from the Tax Practitioners Board
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Issue 41 | April 2020 - Tax (financial) adviser edition
TPB News

We're here to support you

We’re providing support to tax practitioners affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19). Some of the things we’re doing include waiving the requirement to complete annual declarations for some tax practitioners and temporarily revising our approach to activities that meet our continuing professional education (CPE) requirements. If your ability to meet your obligations with us is affected or you’re having difficulties renewing your registration, contact us and we’ll work with you to resolve any outstanding TPB matters.

Learn more.

BAS services expanded

BAS agents can provide expanded services to their clients in response to the Australian Government’s COVID-19 stimulus package. BAS agents are legally able to advise their clients on the entitlements available under the new JobKeeper Payment and Cashflow support for business initiatives. This will allow BAS agents to support Australian businesses through this challenging time.

Learn more.

Tax agents can advise on super

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced that tax agents are able to provide advice to their existing clients on early access to their super without needing to hold an Australian financial services (AFS) licence, subject to several important conditions. This is a temporary relief measure to assist clients to access affordable and timely advice during COVID-19.

Learn more.

Working to support the community

We’ve joined forces with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and professional associations to support you through COVID-19. During this crisis, we remind everyone to do the right thing. Don’t make changes to your clients’ business structures and employment arrangements that result in obtaining a benefit that would otherwise not be paid to your client. We’ll take firm action against anyone doing the wrong thing. We understand these situations can be hard to navigate and we encourage you to seek our assistance if you need advice.

Learn more.

Board approved course concessions

As a result of COVID-19, we’ve temporarily revised our policy on Board approved courses needing at least 40% of the total assessment completed under some form of independent supervision. Where supervised assessments can’t be conducted, alternative options such as remote or online invigilation will be accepted. These arrangements will stay in place at least for the current study period (semester/trimester). We’ll continue to monitor the situation and we’ll update you on any policy changes should they occur.

Learn more.
Practice management tips

More free webinars for you!

With the impacts of COVID-19 and limited face-to-face CPE opportunities available, join us online and earn free CPE! We have two webinars on 21 April. Our first is for newly registered tax practitioners – learn about your ongoing registration obligations. At our second webinar, you’ll learn how our Code of Professional Conduct and the FASEA Code of Ethics work together. On 29 April, we’ve designed a webinar for tax practitioners on adapting to a rapidly changing environment while complying with your obligations.

Register now.

Transitional renewal requirements

If you are a tax (financial) adviser registered under the transitional option, you need to meet the qualification and relevant experience requirements when you renew your registration with us. You need to renew under one of the four options (items 301 to 304) to meet our requirements. If you’re affected by COVID-19 and having difficulty meeting our requirements, contact us now.

Learn more.

FASEA CPD requirements

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) is encouraging licensees to take a supportive approach to compliance with continuing professional development (CPD) as a result of COVID-19. In the current environment with face to face CPD offerings being difficult to attend, FASEA are advising that online options are an appropriate alternative. We have also temporarily revised our CPE requirements to assist you through this period.

Learn more.

FASEA exam update

FASEA has advised that the April face to face adviser exam has been cancelled as a result of COVID-19. Candidates will have the option of completing the exam online or deferring until June or a later sitting. The exam provider, ACER, will directly update candidates who are registered for the April exam, so make sure your email address is up to date in the registration system.

Learn more.

Taking reasonable care FAQs

We’ve compiled some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) we received during our webinar Taking reasonable care. Find out answers related to reasonable care requirements, the Corporations Act, work-related expenses and engagement letters. 

Learn more.

COVID-19 malicious scams

Beware – there’s been a significant increase in COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails. The emails are often sophisticated, preying on people’s desire for information and imitating trusted and well-known businesses or government agencies. Clicking on the malicious links or visiting fake websites can automatically install computer viruses/malware and ransomware onto your device, giving cyber criminals the ability to steal your financial and personal information. The scams are likely to increase and we strongly encourage you to stay alert!

Learn more.

Over $900,000 underreported

A tax agent had his registration terminated by the Board after being audited by the ATO which found that the agent understated his income by over $930,000. The agent failed to declare this information in his 2019 annual declaration to the Board. As a result, the Board Conduct Committee (BCC) found the tax agent was no longer a fit and proper person and terminated his registration, imposing a three-year ban on the agent applying for registration.

Learn more.

Disregard for tax laws

Investigations into the conduct of a tax agent and his company tax agent practice have led to both tax agent registrations being terminated. The tax agent was audited by the ATO which found that he had over $317,000 worth of work-related expense claims and rental deductions that were disallowed. He also failed to comply with his company and personal tax obligations. The BCC terminated the individual and company registrations, imposing a five-year ban on both applying for registration.

Learn more.

Investigations information updated

We received feedback from tax practitioners wanting a better understanding on what to expect when we conduct an investigation. As a result, we’ve updated our Investigations process information sheet to include more detailed information on the steps we follow when we investigate a tax practitioner. We’ve also included a visual flowchart that provides a quick snapshot of each of these steps.

Learn more.
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About the Tax Practitioners Board
The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) was established to regulate tax practitioners in order to protect consumers. The TPB assures the community that tax practitioners meet the appropriate standards of professional and ethical conduct.
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