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Accountants’ exemption transition period ‘too generous’

By James Mitchell and Katarina Taurian
07 January 2014 — 1 minute read

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) has criticised the “generous” phase-out period for the exemption that accountants receive for advising on SMSFs.

The FPA’s general manager of policy and standards, Dante De Gori, told SMSF Adviser that although the three-year timeframe is not problematic, the phase-out period lacks “action points”.

Mr De Gori said the transition period planners received for the Tax Agent Services Act (TASA) has phases that require specific actions of financial planners.

“The accountants’ exemption is effectively a three-year phase-out, which means there is no incentive… to try and encourage accountants to go before 30 June 2016. So they can continue using the exemption for another two and a half years,” Mr De Gori said.

“We wanted some sort of phased program where those who really wanted to get licensed, and were committed to it, could notify ASIC and ASIC could then start delivering education and training,” he added.

“There [are] effectively no action points within that three-year period to encourage accountants to go through the process and understand their obligations, and there is no awareness for ASIC to understand how many will want to become planners.”

Speaking previously to SMSF Adviser’s sister publication InvestorDaily, Mr De Gori also questioned the decision to restrict the limited licence to accountants who are members of one of the three joint accounting bodies, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, the Institute of Public Accountants, and CPA Australia.

“In terms of a free market type of approach by Treasury or government, it seems to be very restrictive. Why can’t another individual who is an accountant of another accounting body or another association be eligible for this concession?” Mr De Gori asked.

Accountants’ exemption transition period ‘too generous’
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