The Parliamentary Joint Committee (PJC) on Corporations and Financial Services has handed down its report on the amendments to the Tax Agent Services Act (TASA), recommending the Bill be reintroduced to parliament and passed.
The report, tabled by PJC chair Deb O’Neill in the parliamentary lower house today, recommended a wording change to the transitional arrangements but would still require advisers to include a disclaimer on advice documents from 1 July 2013.
The wording change recommended the “transitional arrangements be amended to stipulate that, from 1 July 2013 to 31 December 2013, unregistered financial services licensees and representatives may provide tax (financial) advice services on the condition that they accompany such a service with a disclaimer”.
Financial Services Council (FSC) chief executive John Brogden said the PJC findings came “despite very clear evidence from the FSC, [Association of Financial Advisers and the Financial Planning Association] that the TASA legislation will create havoc for financial advisers.”
The FSC said it will push ahead with attempts to have the legislation amended in parliament by the Coalition and independents.
The report also recommended the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) consider the case for amending Regulatory Guide 175 - which provides guidance on Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms including the best interests duty and new fee disclosure requirements - in line with the wishes of the financial planning industry associations.
With those two amendments, the report recommends passage of the Bill in its current form.
However, the Coalition members of the PJC issued a dissenting report calling for the Bill to be deferred until June 2014.
The dissenting report recommended that parliament "defer the proposed changes to bring financial planners and advisers into the TASA regime by 12 months to 30 June 2014; and extend current transitional arrangements exempting financial planners and advisers from the TASA regime by 12 months to 30 June 2014; so that the government and the [TPB] can finalise all of the legislation and associated regulations to enable an orderly transition and implementation period".
Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated the PJC recommended a six-month transitional period. In fact, the PJC recommended the original transition period remain, but recommended a wording change to the disclosure statement required by affected advisers inside the first six months from 1 July 2013.
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