TPB relaxes requirements in COVID-19 response
The Tax Practitioners Board will temporarily relax a requirement in its continuing professional education policy requirements as the profession transitions to a remote working environment.
With the coronavirus now impacting virtually every aspect of daily life, the TPB has now moved to remove the 25 per cent cap for relevant technical and professional reading activity up until 30 September 2020.
The CPE policy change is set to ease the way practitioners meet their CPE requirements in the wake of cancelled structured events and workshops due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We recognise that tax practitioners are working hard for their clients at this difficult time and understand that you have a lot of competing priorities,” said TPB chief executive Michael O’Neill.
“We understand that your health and safety and that of your family’s is of utmost importance, and this can lead to not being able to meet some of your obligations with us.”
In removing the cap, the TPB has noted that practitioners must “first and foremost, explore and undertake online CPE offerings”.
A logbook detailing all CPE activities must continue to be kept.
The TPB has also noted that while the 25 per cent professional reading cap has been temporarily lifted, all elements of its CPE requirements still apply.
These include meeting the required number of CPE hours over a three-year registration period, the minimum number of CPE hours required to be undertaken each year, and undertaking activities to the services the practitioner is registered to provide.
Earlier this year, the TPB put forward a discussion paper into its review of CPE, proposing a new 40 hours per annum requirement, in place of the current three-year requirement.
The proposal has not been well received by the profession, with the TPB told that it will not lead to improved quality of services and will stifle flexibility in the profession.
Annual declaration concession
Practitioners who are due to complete their annual declarations on or before 31 December 2020 will now be allowed to complete it in 2021, or 2022 if their registration renewal is due in 2021.
Practitioners who are unable to lodge their registration renewal applications on time can also discuss their situation with the TPB for appropriate arrangements.
“You must, however, continue to meet your other obligations around professional indemnity insurance, fit and proper requirements and personal tax obligations,” the TPB said.