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Accountants wise up to limited licensing

As the date for the limited licensing regime for accountants looms, the National Tax and Accountants' Association (NTAA) has seen an uptick in applications for authorisation under their licence.

"The experience we've had is the same as others have had, which is all of a sudden people are realising they need to do something. We've now had in excess of 100 applications to be authorised under the licence and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here," NTAA member advocate Phil Osborne said.

The NTAA holds an AFSL, called the SMSF Advisers Network, which allows it to authorise its members to give advice on setting up SMSFs, among other superannuation-related advice.

"It's filling what we perceived [to be] a need in the marketplace," he said.

"When we spoke to our members, they didn't express an interest in getting a full authorisation, they just wanted to continue what they were doing under the accountants' exemption."

Mr Osborne warned accountants that time is ticking and the government is unlikely to leave the exemption in place.

"The message is out there and personal opinion thought that people were waiting to do something closer to the time. Many accountants have felt that if they didn't change [it], the government would leave the exemption in place. Given they've had several years to get the situation in place, it would be very unlikely that the government would turn around and change things now," he said.

"We've starting to get more and more applications now, I think it's just that people have left it to the last possible minute because they don't see the need to have anything in place until 1 July 2016."


In November last year, an ASIC spokesperson told ifa's sister publication SMSF Adviser that it had received 204 applications for a limited licence, with 101 applications being rejected or withdrawn.

The accountants' exemption expires on 30 June , and ASIC is urging all accountants to have their licensing arrangements in place by the end of this month.