TASA looms: Majority prepared?

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Financial planners still need to get going, but the Financial Planning Association (FPA) is confident its members will be ready come 1 July when the controversial Tax Agent Services Act goes live.

Advisers and planners will be required to comply with the stringent regime, which overthrows the previous exemption from any regulation on tax advice they provided.
Under TASA, which already has been postponed by a year, those providing tax advice from the July start date could face penalties of up to $27,000.

Dante De Gori, general manager of policy and conduct at the FPA, told Wealth Professional that planners and licensees need to be prepared to meet their obligations under the TASA code, as well as continuing professional development.

“Financial planners who are not registered will need to include the appropriate disclaimer in their statement of advice. Failure to do so may result in possible penalties and/or sanctions,” he said.

Despite the daunting thought of such potentially damaging penalties, De Gori feels that the majority of FPA members will be prepared for the changes come July.

The association last week launched the TASA Toolkit campaign in order to educate its members and give them access to resources and advice.

The campaign includes a series of four webinars, national roadshows, and an online wealth of knowledge which will be continually being developed and consist of easy reference guides, FAQs, and relevant articles.

De Gori said while TASA will help improve the competency and training of financial planners in the area of tax advice, parts of it are concerning.

“The negatives are that the overall competency requirements for financial planners is not streamlined between ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) and the TPB (Tax Practitioners Board),” he said. “This will be a concern for future planners and the pathway to becoming a financial planner”.

Furthermore, some of the act’s provisions are still not set in stone, he said. The regulations, which will stipulate the education, experience, and registration requirements are still outstanding.
 
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