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Newsletter from the Tax Practitioners Board
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Issue 43 | June 2020 - General edition
TPB News

Working from home safely and productively 

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced many people to work from home. Working from home can be both physically and mentally draining, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve compiled some practical advice for employees and managers to help you navigate this tricky time. Read our tips on how to improve your wellbeing, including how to set up your workstation properly.

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Don't forget to renew!

If your registration is due for renewal this year, don’t forget that you still need to submit your registration renewal application to us at least 30 days before your registration expires. This is not to be confused with your annual declaration. Due to COVID-19, we’ve temporarily waived the requirement for some practitioners to complete an annual declaration if it’s due on or before 31 December 2020.

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Welfare, health and education

We’re temporarily allowing some educative health and wellbeing activities to count towards continuing professional education (CPE) hours. These can include attending events, such as webinars and other online training courses about how to manage stress and self-care. We hope that this assists you to remain healthy so you can have a long and successful career like tax practitioner Bill Hackett, who has been working in finance for over 57 years and providing a valued service to his clients.

Learn more.   

TPB tax practitioner survey

Every six months, we issue a bi-annual survey to a random selection of tax practitioners. We do this to gain an understanding of our effectiveness, which informs our decision making processes and how to improve our services and communication with you. Read about our research approach, methodology used and what we do with the findings.

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Legislation

Tax agents can advise on superannuation

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

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Have your say!

We’re inviting comment on a draft legislative instrument that allows BAS agents to provide additional services. These additional services relate to the superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) that are not currently covered by the existing Tax Agent Services (Specified BAS Services) Instrument 2016. The closing date for submissions is 13 July 2020. Written submissions can be made via email at tpbsubmissions@tpb.gov.au. We’ll consider all submissions and undertake further consultation before finalising the legislative instrument.

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Consumer price index fee adjustment

Under the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009, the application fee to register or renew as a tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) adviser is subject to a consumer price index (CPI) adjustment on 1 July each year. As a result, from 1 July 2020 the application fee to register or renew your registration will increase. Any applications paid and submitted by 10pm (AEST) 30 June 2020 will be based on the existing fee. After this time, applications will be based on the increased fee.

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Practice management tips

Free webinars

We have three webinars available for you to earn free continuing professional education (CPE). On 23 June, learn how to lead and manage your staff remotely to ensure they’re providing adequate services on your behalf. On 25 June, at our first webinar, we’ll provide tips to protect yourself against cyber criminals and scammers. At our second, you’ll learn why CPE is critical to your ongoing registration. We’ll look at relevant activities, recording CPE, and recognition of your association’s CPE requirements.

Register now.

Consultative forum report

Read a summary report on our Consultative forum held on 7 May 2020 to find out key messages from us as well as the ATO. You’ll learn about what we are doing to support tax practitioners through COVID-19 as well as matters facing the ATO in relation to the COVID-19 stimulus measures. You’ll also learn about updates in relation to some of our policy matters such as the BAS services legislative instrument, professional indemnity insurance and CPE requirements.

Learn more.
Compliance

Tax agent banned for tax avoidance

The registration of Christopher Phillip Allenby, a former partner of KPMG from Sydney, has been terminated. After being investigated by us and the ATO, it was found that Mr Allenby was associated with a client’s scheme to avoid paying $3.1 million in taxes and penalties. This involved a purported sale of assets, changing the ownership of companies and related discretionary trusts and using complex call options.

Learn more.  

Concerning behaviour targeted

We’re undertaking a review of registered tax practitioners believed to have provided false information to the Commissioner of Taxation. The review identified 74 tax practitioners that lodged 2017 and 2018 self-managed superannuation fund annual returns with an incorrect, perhaps fraudulently recorded, SMSF Auditor Number. We will be demanding an explanation from all tax practitioners involved. Misconduct or failure to adequately respond to our inquiries is a breach of the Code of Professional Conduct and may result in sanctions being applied.

Learn more.    

Undermining COVID-19 package

We're warning unregistered organisations against becoming engaged in providing advice or services related to any of the COVID-19 stimulus benefits, such as Jobkeeper payment, Cash Flow Boost or Early Release from Super. Such arrangements are in breach of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 and such organisations may be liable for a civil penalty imposed by the Federal Court. If you’re aware of a potential scam or unregistered provider, report the situation to us either by email or by calling 1300 362 829.

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Latest compliance cases

Keep up to date with our latest compliance case studies. These case studies provide a summary of Board Conduct Committee decisions on compliance matters. Our newest ones include a company losing their registration due to dishonesty and incompetent services and a suspended tax agent that fails to complete his CPE as ordered.    

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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