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Reforms needed to prevent exodus of accountants from advice space, say CA ANZ, IPA

Regulation

Two major accounting bodies have called for equal treatment of registered tax agents under the regulatory framework and urged Treasury to reform superannuation advice to prevent an exodus of accountants from the advice space.

Sponsored by Miranda Brownlee3 minute read

In January, Treasury released a consultation on the remake of the sunsetting Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009 in response to amendments arising from the Better Advice Regulations.

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In a joint submission to the consultation, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and the Institute of Public Accountants said the proposed regulations provide an opportunity to address certain outstanding matters which would “reduce regulatory overlap, streamline processes and assist consumers”.

The submission noted that from 1 January 2022, the registration and regulation of tax (financial) advisers have been transferred from the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB), and they have been deemed to be registered as a qualified tax-relevant provider on the Financial Adviser Register under ASIC.

“However, registered tax agents (RTAs) will not benefit from similar treatment and will not receive deemed registration with ASIC under the Better Advice Act and must register separately with ASIC,” the submission stated.

In addition to equal treatment, the accounting bodies also stated that there should be a clear delineation of the legislative and regulatory frameworks between financial advisers and tax agents.

“This would remove all financial advisers and related entities from Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA) into the Corporations Act 2001 under ASIC; whilst removing registered tax agents from the Corporations Act 2001 and leaving them under TASA and the TPB,” the submission explained.

The two accounting bodies also urged Treasury to implement reforms to the regulation of certain superannuation and tax-related advice.

“Due to escalating licensing costs, ongoing compliance costs, and the unintended consequences of the FASEA regime, almost all of the estimated 1,600 members of the major accounting bodies and the SMSFA, who are authorised to provide limited advice, will soon cease to do so if they haven’t already,” the submission stated.

“For many members, providing strategic superannuation advice represents only a small portion of their business and it is simply no longer viable for these members to provide this advice.”

The submission pointed out that consumers need access to affordable strategic superannuation advice, which can be delivered through an efficient and effective model, utilising suitably highly qualified professionals with adequate consumer protections in place.

The accounting bodies said this could be achieved by amending TASA by way of a legislative instrument.

Reforms needed to prevent exodus of accountants from advice space, say CA ANZ, IPA
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Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee

AUTHOR

Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.

Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.

You can email Miranda on:miranda.brownlee@momentummedia.com.au

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