New guidance imminent as regulators, associations meet
The Tax Practitioners Board, ASIC and the joint accounting bodies are in the process of finding an answer for a quirk in the Corporations Act which, in some cases, puts unlicensed accountants on better footing than licensed practitioners in the provision of financial advice, including for SMSFs.
There is a provision in the law which says if an accountant provides certain incidental financial advice as part of tax services, they don’t necessarily need to be licensed with ASIC, the TPB’s chair Ian Taylor explained to SMSF Adviser.
This creates an uneven playing field for those who are appropriately licensed, and is currently being addressed by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the Institute of Public Accountants, CPA and the TPB, Mr Taylor said.
Mr Taylor expects that the groups will collectively issue establish an interpretation of that provision, which will be made publicly available to practitioners.
The TPB is treating this as a priority item, and Mr Taylor stressed is heavily focused on creating an even playing field between tax agents and tax (financial) advisers.
“There is an overlap between tax (financial) advisers and tax agents with the provision of financial advice… it is a priority it for the TPB, there is no doubt about that,” Mr Taylor said.