Issue 57 | August 2021 | General edition
TPB News

Have you seen our 2021-22 Corporate Plan?

Our Corporate Plan for 2021­–22 highlights our purpose, strategic objectives, performance measures, and focus areas for the year ahead. This year, our objectives have been influenced by the Government’s response to the Review of the Tax Practitioners Board. We’ll continue to ensure tax practitioner services are provided in accordance with the high standards of professional and ethical conduct expected by the community. To learn more, you may like to join our Secretary/CEO, Michael O’Neill, at our TPB Vision webinar on 19 August.


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TPB’s enhanced consultation channel

The Tax Practitioner Governance and Standards Forum (TPGSF) has been established to ensure any significant proposals affecting tax practitioners are made with appropriate consultation. The forum is co-chaired by us and CPA Australia, with membership made up of senior officers from the TPB, Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and representatives from professional associations. The inaugural meeting took place on 6 July. A summary of key discussion points from the TPGSF meetings are available on our website.

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Policy update

Remember your Code obligations when advising on COVID-19 assistance programs

As a tax practitioner you may be providing advice on the state and territory financial assistance packages in response to COVID-19. It’s important to remember, while you’re not providing a tax agent, tax (financial) advice or BAS service when advising on the packages, you’re still bound by the Code . You must act lawfully, competently and with honesty and integrity. To make this easier we’ve temporarily relaxed our continuing professional education (CPE) requirements, allowing activities which improve your knowledge on the assistance packages.

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Practice management tips

Remember to take reasonable care

This tax time it’s important to remember your reasonable care obligations. You must verify your clients' state of affairs and apply tax laws correctly to avoid breaching the Code. You should use your professional judgement and consider relevant factors including the terms of an engagement, your client’s circumstances and any pre-existing relationship between you and your client. If you need help determining what reasonable care steps to take when dealing with a client, you may like to watch our Taking reasonable care webinar.

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Are you a small business owner or sole trader who’s struggling right now?

Being a small business owner can involve stress and pressure coming from many directions. Beyond Blue’s NewAccess for Small Business Owners (NASBO) program is available nationally via Telehealth for small business owners struggling with their mental health. We encourage anyone needing help to utilise this free, confidential mental health coaching program to support and improve your wellbeing. Given the program is specific for business owners, it can count towards your CPE requirement, noting it is capped at 10% of your overall CPE hours.

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Secure your seat and free CPE!

Do you have sufficient supervision arrangements in place? Join Board member, Craig Stephens at our Sufficient supervision webinar to learn how to meet our sufficient number requirement. You may also like to join our Secretary/CEO, Michael O’Neill, at our TPB vision webinar. Michael will present this year’s Corporate and Strategic Plans and discuss how we’ll continue to support the public and enhance the integrity of the tax profession by supporting honest tax practitioners. Both webinars are being run on 19 August and count towards your CPE.

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Do you know your clients?

We’re joining the ATO to discuss proof of identity requirements at the Know Your Client open forums on 25 and 27 August. The ATO Digital Open Forums will provide you with the opportunity to ask questions and raise matters for discussion in an informal environment and hear about the latest updates and changes. Your attendance may contribute towards your CPE. Numbers are limited for each forum so register today.

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Improvements coming

We’re continually working to improve the user experience of our public register and have some enhancements rolling out soon. Stay tuned for enhanced search features which will allow users to find a tax practitioner using an ABN or even find one close to where they live or work using geo-search. Make sure your registration details with us and on the Australian Business Register are correct and up to date. Act now by checking your details on My Profile.

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Lending our voice to the ATO

Tune into the ATO’s latest episode of Tax InVoice where you can listen to Board Member, Greg Lewis, take a deep dive into best practice for registered agents. During this episode Greg answers questions around what best practice means to him and the TPB and why this is particularly important for tax practitioners. He also touches upon what you can do when you’ve noticed a mistake, and how this differs to if the error is actually picked up by the ATO.

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Code breaches lead to terminations and sanctions

A tax agent has had their registration terminated and has been prohibited from applying for registration for a period of two years after it was found they had breached multiple items of the Code. The company the tax agent was the sole director of has also had its registration terminated. Two supervising agents were issued with administrative sanctions when they did not ensure the tax agent services that were provided to clients of the company were provided competently.

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Cyber tips

Updated Essential Eight Maturity model

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC)’s Essential Eight  are the most effective mitigation strategies that your organisation can adopt to protect itself against cyber threats. Only last month the ACSC published new updates to the Essential Eight. The Essential Eight Maturity Model now prioritises the implementation of all eight mitigation strategies as a package and there is also an increased emphasis on risk management, including managing risks associated with legacy systems.

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Have you found an alternative internet browser?

Internet Explorer 11 is now in its last days, with Microsoft announcing they’ll no longer support this browser. The ACSC are recommending that organisations disallow staff from using this browser, due to increased security risks. If you don’t use Internet Explorer no action is required. If you do you’ll need to prepare to use an alternative, such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox or Safari. To get the best user experience, and to stay cyber safe, ensure your browser is updated regularly.

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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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