Education requirements would increase for tax advisers under a new proposal by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) for the content of approved courses.
Based on newly released exposure drafts, courses in commercial law and tax law approved by the board would be at the equivalent of at least one tertiary level unit, amounting to between 100 and 130 hours of study each.
Advisers would be required to complete both courses of study to meet the requirements of a registered tax adviser.
“The TPB recognises that a balance must be struck between what is reasonably achievable within the modern educational and professional paradigm and assuring the public of high professional standards,” the proposed guidelines state.
Speaking to ifa, FPA general manager, policy and conduct, Dante De Gori said that on initial review, the FPA welcomes the proposal but noted the association will be closely reviewing the topics and subjects outlined in the course requirements.
“Our main concern, of course, is that… the subjects that the course requirements stipulate do have relevance in the context of financial planning,” Mr De Gori said.
“From an initial view, we’ve been expecting these consultation papers and we welcome that they’re out and from the surface they seem to be what we expected, but we will review them quite thoroughly just to make sure the topics are relevant for the purpose of financial planning.”
The draft exposure outlines that knowledge of commercial law is not currently a requirement under RG146 unless it falls under an adviser’s area of “specialist knowledge”.
Similarly the TPB noted that while “knowledge of” the effect of Australian tax law on particular products appears under RG146, there is no requirement for specific tax expertise.
Mr De Gori said the upcoming parliamentary joint committee inquiry is an opportunity for the industry to review the consistency of education standards across the board.
“The FPA has been saying from day dot that there needs to be greater consistency and that the issue of education and training for financial planning needs to be streamlined,” Mr De Gori said.
“One of our criticisms all along was the way the TPB and ASIC was working, or was not working, together in respect to adviser education.
“There is an opportunity now with the review of education standards through the parliamentary joint committee inquiry that the areas of taxation and tax or commercial law that is required by the TPD is reflected in the adviser education requirements, going forward.”
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