Issue 60 | November 2021 | tax (financial) adviser edition
Have you seen our Annual Report?
During 2020-21 we observed increased engagement with tax practitioners and we thank you for supporting your clients and upholding the integrity of the tax system during another challenging year. Our key highlights include:
TPB register searches exceeded 2 million for the first time.
We terminated 75 tax practitioners for breaches of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA).
We answered over 20,000 emails and letters, and over 29,000 phone enquiries to support you.
Our average webinar attendance rate increased by 286% with over 61,400 tax practitioners attending.
Tax (financial) advisers who have their registration expiring BEFORE 1 January 2022 should keep their eye out for our email regarding the new laws impacting their Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) registration. The email will cover topics including what the changes introduced by the Better Advice Bill mean for you and who can legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee from 1 January 2022. In the meantime, make sure your details with us and ASIC are up to date.
On 21 October Parliament passed the Better Advice Bill which implements recommendation 7.1 of the Review of the Tax Practitioners Board with the introduction of a single disciplinary and registration system for financial advisers. From 1 January 2022, under the new registration system, tax (financial) advisers will no longer be regulated by us. However, if you want to continue to provide tax (financial) advice services from 1 January 2022, there are new requirements for you to consider.
ASIC’s regulatory responsibilities are set to broaden
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC’s) responsibilities concerning the financial advice industry will be broadened under the Better Advice Bill. From 1 January 2022 ASIC will take on additional responsibilities to strengthen consumer protections and streamline the financial advice industry. They will also take responsibility for the administration of the financial adviser exam. ASIC will continue to work closely with Treasury, the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) and the TPB to ensure a smooth transition of functions.
Following the establishment of the Tax Practitioner Governance and Standards Forum (TPGSF), which was established to ensure recommendations from the Review of the Tax Practitioners Board are made with appropriate consultation, a Charter governing its operations has been released. The Charter explains the roles and responsibilities of the Co-Chairs and members, and matters relevant to its operations. With the formation of the TPGSF, the scope and purpose of the TPB Consultative Forum were revised and the Forum’s Charter has also been amended in consultation with key stakeholders.
If you’re a newly registered tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser it’s important for you to understand your ongoing registration obligations. So, why not take the opportunity to join Board member, Judy Sullivan as she welcomes you to the tax practitioner profession. Judy will explain the role of the TPB and what is expected of you in order to maintain your registered tax practitioner status. Secure free CPE next week at our webinar on 17 November.
When it comes to scams, prevention is better than a cure. Scams Awareness Week is an annual campaign dedicated to raising awareness of scams. This year Scams Awareness Week is being held from 8 to 12 November with the theme ‘Let’s talk scams’. There are lots of online resources and activities you can access throughout the week to help increase your scams awareness. If you or someone you know has been scammed you can report it to Scamwatch, even if you didn’t fall for it.
Even though there’s no set formula for determining reasonable care in any given situation, you should use your professional judgement and consider relevant factors. To help you achieve this we have updated our information sheets to include some examples to illustrate the general application of Code item 9, including reasonable suspicions about claims being made and making appropriate enquiries of a new client. If you need help determining what reasonable care steps to take, you may like to watch our taking reasonable care webinar.
We know at this time of the year you would have been busy completing your clients’ tax obligations, but don’t forget it’s also important you keep your own personal tax obligations up to date. This is a requirement of Code item 2 and includes all your related entities, such as your practice and self-managed superannuation funds. Read our information sheet to learn how to comply with this item, the consequences if you don’t, case studies and more.
Tax practitioner banned for using an unregistered preparer and pilfering client money
We terminated the registration of Mr Reis Cibala Kaluka and banned him from re-applying for his tax agent registration for two years. Mr Kaluka allowed the company Namro Services Pty Ltd to provide tax practitioner services on his behalf, knowing we had already terminated the company’s registration. The company used Mr Kaluka’s registered agent number to access client data via the Australian Taxation Office’s Online services for agents, leading to client refunds being misappropriated.
Lack of supervision leads to multiple Code breaches
Following an investigation, a tax agent was found to have breached multiple items of the Code of Professional Conduct. They were unable to work over a period of time, during which, entities they supervised lodged approximately 750 income tax returns without the tax agent’s supervision and control. They also had outstanding tax obligations that accumulated over several years. The Board Conduct Committee determined they were not a fit and proper person and terminated their registration. As a result, the tax agent’s partnership registrations were also terminated.
Protect yourself with these simple steps Unfortunately no one is safe from cybercriminals – The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has launched a Personal Cyber Security Series to help you understand the basics of cyber security and simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your business online. The critical first steps are:
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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