Opinion: Breathe easy over TASA

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Various associations and advisers have met with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) directors to discuss the impact of TASA. AIOFP executive director Peter Johnston explains how everything might not be as bad as it seems:

Like OPT IN, this issue has galvanised all of the Associations. Thankfully it does affect ALL advisers and the co-operative and inclusive attitude of the TPB Directors should give us some comfort that the worst case scenario will not occur.

Here are the key points:

  1. Firstly, this is not a TPB initiative. They are the Federal Government regulatory body that oversees the 60,000 tax agents nationally, Treasury and the Ministers office has imposed this on them. The TPB has been unfairly treated in the press recently.
  2. Assuming the legislation is passed over the next few weeks, there is going to be a very generous ‘notification’ period from 1 July 2013 where you can operate as normal for 18 months as long as you register before 31 December 2014.
  3. After this point you have either a ‘Standard’ or ‘Transitional’ option to exercise which allows you to register for up to 3 years with minimal demands.
  4. The TPB Directors strongly indicated that they will act in consultation with the industry to make any educational demands relevant to the day-to-day operations of a financial adviser.
  5. They certainly took on board that a financial adviser generally uses less than 8% of the Tax Act when dealing with clients so it is overkill to impose 100% of the Act. We also sought recognition for older advisers with experience and Risk advisers who rarely deal in the tax area.

To summarise, my general feeling is that the TPB Board are apolitical, pragmatic and are not out to make life difficult for financial advisers, they genuinely want to see competent advice dispensed to consumers. They have also suggested we [all the associations] meet regularly to discuss policy and progress which is a good sign.

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