TASA: Advisers still in disturbing state

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The advice profession and associations have celebrated the ‘common sense’ decision of Government to remove TASA schedules from the Tax Amendment Bill this week.

However, AFA chief operating officer Phil Anderson says this is only one of two elements needed, and the second is a very important step for financial planners.

“We need the carve-out to be extended until 30th June, 2014. Without that extension of the carve-out we’re actually in a very disturbing state, which is that advisers would be subject to the full obligations of the TASA regime as they apply to tax agents.”

The Government will have to go through the process of putting legislation through, and there isn’t a lot of time left, but Anderson believes it can be done in three weeks. They will also be calling for a similar implementation timeframe as they had for FoFA – 12 months to prepare and 12 months for ASIC to put the guidance out there.

Anderson says the two main things advisers need to know before the bill comes into effect are:

  • Clarification of definitions – he says the current definition of who falls under the Bill is too broad
  • Concept of sufficient numbers – Not everyone in a business needs to be registered if a ‘sufficient amount’ are registered tax agents.

FPA general manager Policy and Conduct Dante De Gori says they will be keeping their eye on the deadline of 30 June, and if the legislation can’t be viewed, amended and passed by then, they will need to consider extending the mandate.

He says they will be working hard to ensure advisers are not left in limbo when 30 June rolls around. “We will cooperate and we will do everything necessary for the enquiry and to work with Government and stakeholders to get the detail right. There will be a point in time, which everybody will acknowledge that this is not going to be done in time, and the appropriate action will be taken at that point. We think we can avoid any uncertainty but we just have to go through the process.”

Although the Government has a number of issues to go through in its last few weeks of sitting, De Gori says this is “a really important issue that needs to be sorted out”.

“I think the attention that this deserves will be provided and I think you’ll find that we’ll have Treasury and ASIC and all stakeholders involved in consultation.”

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