AFA, FPA taken to task for TPB registration

A consultant has criticised the AFA and the FPA for allegedly inadequately informing licensees around whether their financial advice requires them to register with the Tax Practitioners Board.

SMART Compliance principal Brett Walker said there may be some licensees that are needlessly registering with the TPB, adding that the advice industry bodies need to stand up for its members on this front.

“Professional bodies like FPA and AFA play an important role in building industry standards but also need to stand up for members in the face of unnecessary compliance measures,” Mr Walker said in an email to ifa.

“If my analysis is correct, it begs the question why industry bodies like these did not pick them up and push for the same kind of relief from regulation the accounting lobby has successfully achieved for its members in the form of ASIC INFO 216.

“On any reasonable analysis, there appears to be room within the TASA rules for many AFSLs to not take up TPB registration.”

Mr Walker said in a LinkedIn post that there are five elements of tax advice that must all be satisfied in order for a licensee to qualify for compulsory TPB supervision.

One of those elements is around whether a client 'can reasonably be expected to rely' on a licensee's financial advice for tax purposes.

Mr Walker noted that clarification around what that means may save licensees "the bother of having to register with the TPB".

“I suspect many [licensees] will need to consider if [they] have been pushed into a compliance regime not actually constructed with [their] business in mind,” he said.

Mr Walker said he is developing an advice self-assessment tool to assist licensees on making better-informed decisions around TPB registration.

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