Advisers may be left with only two weeks to digest the implications of the amended Tax Agent Services Act, following referral of the Bill to a parliamentary economics committee.
The Tax Laws Amendment (2013 Measures No. 2) Bill 2013 – which includes the amendments bringing financial advisers who provide tax advice under the jurisdiction of the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) – was referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, and subsequently to the House Standing Committee on Economics, yesterday, following a third reading in the House of Representatives.The committee is due to report back to parliament on 16 June, which would leave 15 days until the stipulated implementation date, should the committee recommend passage of the Bill in its current form.Financial Planning Association (FPA) general manager policy and conduct Dante De Gori said this would be an “unreasonable” timeframe for the financial advice industry to be expected to come to terms with the legislation and any amendments.While De Gori welcomed the decision for the legislation to be reviewed – something the FPA has been officially lobbying for – he called for the TASA-relevant amendments to be removed from the Bill and revisited by parliament after the federal election slated for September.“This would at least give the industry six months to conduct proper consultation and review the full details,” he said.“Too much is still unclear, including the definitions; how it’s going to work with licensees, that is, the issue of whether every individual needs to be registered or how many per licensee; [The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s] role in the process; how the collaboration between ASIC and the TPB is going to look; and where the education requirements are at.”He said the industry had not been given sufficient information, nor a sufficient timeframe to digest the implications, particularly given the burdens of the Future of Financial Advice reforms.A Senate economics committee spokesperson told ifa that the Bill had not been referred to the committee due to any concerns with any specific amendments, but that it had been automatically referred in accordance with a motion that all “time critical Bills” currently before parliament be referred to committees to “ensure appropriate consideration”.The committees are now determining how best to proceed with the Bill, the spokesperson said.
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