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Issue 26 | July 2018 - Tax (financial) adviser edition

Message from the Chair

Annual declaration
Many tax (financial) advisers will complete their annual declaration online for the first time in 2018-19. Your registration depends on you completing it when it is due.

The annual declaration requirement was introduced for tax (financial) advisers in August 2017. The importance of the annual declaration is that it demonstrates tax practitioners are meeting their ongoing registration requirements. Importantly, completion of the annual declaration should take less than five minutes online and you must do it personally. Your Australian financial services licensee cannot complete this for you.

Failure to submit your annual declaration could result in a loss of registration. In 2017-18, 605 tax practitioners surrendered their registration, while 16 tax practitioners failed to complete their annual declaration and had their registration terminated.

Your annual declaration will be due on the anniversary of your registration renewal date. You need to complete your annual declaration with us each year, other than in the year you need to renew your registration. We will email you 45 days before your due date to let you know when your annual declaration is due and how to complete it – therefore it is important to keep your email address up to date with us.

Ensuring compliance
Having processed more than 12,000 tax (financial) adviser renewals by 30 June this year, the TPB’s focus will now be on early intervention and ensuring ongoing compliance by tax practitioners with registration requirements and the Code of Professional Conduct (Code).

In 2018-19 we will undertake reviews of practitioners continuing professional education (CPE) records to ensure compliance with our CPE policy and their renewal requirement. These reviews will provide insights into how tax practitioners are maintaining their knowledge and skills relevant to the services they provide that help us develop targeted guidance and support.

The TPB will also have a greater focus on helping to combat the black economy, ensuring compliance with taxation laws in the area of work-related expenses, unregistered entities and working with the ATO to identify and manage agents of concern.  The TPB will also be responding to outcomes and any potential recommendations from the Inspector-General of Taxation’s review into the future of the tax profession.

These activities align with our risk-based approach to compliance, focusing our resources on issues where there is the greatest risk of harm to taxpayers and the community.
 
Professional standards for financial advisers
Over the last few months, a number of regulatory bodies, including the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority, have released a number of consultation documents relating to the professional standards for financial advisers. Given the relevance of these consultations to tax (financial) advisers, the TPB has provided input on the proposals, highlighting the role of the TPB and the need, where possible, to minimise any regulatory overlap.

Ian R Taylor
Chair, Tax Practitioners Board

Watch our free webinars

Our free webinars can count towards your CPE. If you missed one of our live webinars, you can view it on our YouTube channel and still claim one hour of CPE for each webinar viewed. Subscribe to our YouTube channel now to be notified when any new webinar videos are published. 

Recent compliance outcomes

The Board Conduct Committee has recently imposed administrative sanctions on 70 tax practitioners, including terminating the registration of six tax practitioners for failures to comply with the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA), including the Code.

Read more about how the Board deals with TASA breaches

Acting lawfully in your client's best interests

Item 4 of the Code requires you to act lawfully in your client's best interests when providing tax (financial) advice services. It requires you to uphold the law when acting for clients rather than simply facilitating your client's wishes or interests. This is a primary distinction between your obligation under this Code item and the best interests duty under the Corporations Act 2001.

Learn more about Code item 4

Are you using your symbol?

More than 13,000 tax (financial) advisers have now demonstrated they meet the standard registration requirements and are entitled to use the free Registered tax practitioner symbol to promote their services.

Each symbol is unique and includes your registration number. You can download your symbol from My Profile and start using it in accord with the rules and regulations of use.

How to download the symbol

Renewing your transitional registration

If you originally registered with the TPB as an individual tax (financial) adviser under the transitional option, you may need to undertake further study or obtain further relevant experience in order to satisfy the requirements to renew your registration. If this applies to you:

  • watch our webinar to learn about the key things you need to consider now to help you prepare for your renewal. You can claim one hour of CPE/CPD for viewing the webinar
  • use our online Qualifications check to determine whether you have the qualifications needed to renew your registration.

Your feedback

We invite your feedback on topics or issues you would like us to address in future editions of TPB eNews.

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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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