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Advisers hit back over TASA accusation

The Financial Planning Association and a number of ifa readers have voiced their opposition to the comments made by accounting industry bodies claiming the advice industry had “walked away” from the Tax Agent Services Act amendments.

A joint statement from CPA Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia on Tuesday decried the “last minute push” by financial planning industry lobbyists to have the TASA-relevant sections of the Tax Laws Amendment (2013 Measures No. 2) Bill 2013 excised and revisited post-election, as reported by ifa yesterday

In response, FPA general manager, policy and standards Dante De Gori told ifa he was disappointed by the insinuations made by his counterparts in the accounting industry associations.

“We refute the notion that we have ‘walked away’ from the issue,” he said. “We also refute the notion that this is about consumer protection because we are strong advocates of there being regulatory and professional standards, as the accounting bodies know.

“Financial planning is arguably already Australia’s most regulated profession and we just want to be consulted and see the full details before more regulation is added.”

Mr De Gori reiterated the FPA’s position that it is not lobbying for TASA to be scrapped, but for a time extension on the vote and a more sufficient consultation process.

“I don’t know why the accounting industry is in such a rush to see the Bill passed, but it’s disappointing and I think we need to work together in the best interests of the financial services sector,” he said.

The lashing out of accounting bodies against the planning industry is also a case of the “pot calling the kettle black”, Mr De Gori said, as the accounting profession has often called for extensions and further guidance on issues such as the limited licence.

This same catchphrase was used by ifa reader Mark Tyminski, who commented: “This is really a case of the pot calling the kettle black … I’m all for reform and appropriate licensing, but ‘do it right, do it right first time’”.

Another commenter took aim at the accounting profession more broadly.

“Paul Drum and Yasser El-Ansary [of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia] should focus on their own profession before lashing out at others,” he wrote. “I have several clients with massive debts to the ATO, thanks to dodgy advice from a trusted accountant.”

“What a load of bulldust,” wrote ifa commenter Mike Vesper. “The Accts (sic) body pushing for planners to be brought under the Tax Agents Services Act is nothing but argy bargy from a stronger professional association.”