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Newsletter from the Tax Practitioners Board
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Issue 48 | November 2020 - Tax (financial) adviser edition
TPB News

Meet our new Board members

We’re delighted to welcome Judy Sullivan and Craig Stephens to the TPB Board. Judy and Craig have been appointed to the Board for three years. Judy is Principal Solicitor at Judy Sullivan Consulting Pty Ltd and Craig is the Managing Partner of BDO Hobart and a registered tax agent who has been working in a business services role for over 40 years. They both bring a wealth of knowledge to the Board and we look forward to working with them for the benefit of the public and the tax profession.
 
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Don't risk it - update your PI insurance  

We’ll be contacting you if our records indicate that your professional indemnity (PI) insurance details are not up to date with us. As a registered tax practitioner, you are required to ensure your PI insurance details are up to date and that you are maintaining your ongoing registration requirements. Login to your My profile account to update your PI insurance details and the details of any of your associated entities. For step-by-step instructions on updating your details, view our video.

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Annual declaration COVID-19 concession

As part of our COVID-19 concessions, tax practitioners will be exempt from lodging an annual declaration until 30 June 2021. If your annual declaration is due on or before 30 June 2021, you don't have to complete it until 2022 or 2023 (if your registration renewal is due in 2022). You must, however, continue to meet your obligations around PI insurance, fit and proper requirements, continuing professional education (CPE) and personal tax obligations.

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Annual report 2019-20

We’ve released our annual report for 2019–20. Read about how we supported you as you assisted your clients and the community through one of the most challenging years. At the same time, we increased our efforts to protect consumers of tax practitioner services by remaining vigilant in identifying those who seek to abuse the system. We also ensured all registered tax practitioners continued to provide quality services to the millions of Australians who rely on them for advice.

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Practice management tips

Upcoming webinars - 25 November

Join us on Wednesday 25 November for two free webinars. At 11am AEDT, join us to find out why PI insurance is important, what cover you require and what your policy should cover and include. At 3pm AEDT, we’ll go through our compliance projects and our focus on targeting those cases with the highest risk. We’ll also share some recent compliance case studies.

Register now.

Access our webinar resources!

Come prepared to our next webinar by accessing our webinar resources. Our new webinar resources hub is a one-stop shop for all your webinar essentials and includes presentation slides, hyperlink documents, FAQs and recordings. It hosts all the material for each webinar that’s taken place over the past six months. You can also access our full library of webinar recordings from our YouTube channel.
 
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Cloud computing - Q&A

We’ve compiled some answers to questions we received during our cloud computing webinar. Find out the benefits of cloud computing, what the necessary security requirements are, if there are any providers we recommend and the relationship between cloud computing, the Code and client confidentiality. We also answer some compliance related questions around how to get your client to authorise documents and whether it’s acceptable for accountants to claim a lien over client data when a client leaves.  

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TPB bi-annual survey issued 

On 9 November our bi-annual survey was sent to a random sample of tax practitioners. If you received a survey, please complete it by 30 November 2020. It only takes 5-7 minutes of your time. The survey provides us with useful insights into the profession and helps measure our effectiveness, policy and guidance material. The email containing the survey is addressed from the ATO, but is co-branded with us. If you have any queries contact us.

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FASEA remote November exams 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne, the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) advised that the Melbourne physical location exams can’t be offered for the November sitting of the Financial Adviser Exam. If you have registered for a Melbourne physical exam, you have the option of sitting the exam online or deferring to January or a later sitting. The Geelong exam location will continue to be offered to advisers in regional Victoria.
 
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Compliance

Fake tax agent fined $40,000

The Federal Court of Australia has fined Ms Arlene Caolboy $40,000 for unlawfully providing tax practitioner services to approximately 350 taxpayers over the past four years. She advertised online and told taxpayers that she was a registered tax agent when in fact she wasn’t. Ms Caolboy also had an injunction imposed on her which prevents her from providing tax practitioner services for the next three years whilst she remains unregistered with us.

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Delayed refunds and no PI insurance

A tax agent has had her registration terminated for failing to pass on tax refunds to her clients promptly. She failed to properly advise her clients when refunds were received and was inaccessible when clients tried to contact her. The agent also held refunds in her personal account instead of a trust account. In addition, the agent failed to maintain PI insurance that met our requirements.

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Failure to comply with tax laws

A tax (financial) adviser has had his registration terminated and is banned from applying for registration for a period of 12 months. The adviser was found to no longer be fit and proper to be registered with us due to his continued non-compliance with his personal tax obligations. This included defaulting on payment arrangements entered into with the ATO, accumulating further debt and failing to lodge various personal tax returns. He also did the same thing with his associated entities.

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Need to make a complaint? 

If you need to make a complaint about a registered tax practitioner or unregistered provider, make sure you check it’s a complaint we can investigate. A large percentage of complaints we receive are unable to be resolved or directly addressed by us. In most cases, another body such as the police or the ATO are best equipped to deal with the complaint. Examples include fee disputes or penalties imposed by the ATO.
 
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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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