• 7. Tax Practitioner Board Update

    The purpose of this item is for Mr Russell Smith from the Tax Practitioner Board to provide members with an update on the Tax Practitioners Board activities.

    Meeting Discussion

    BOARD ACTIVITY

    TPB Outreach

    The Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) held its recent outreach activities in Adelaide from 6-8 November 2013. Ian Taylor, Chair of the TPB, along with members of the Board, led sessions with local tax agents & BAS agents in Adelaide, Hahndorf and Gawler.

    • Attendance exceeded expectations with more than 30% of all South Australian tax practitioners registering for the sessions. 423 tax agents and 297 BAS agents registered to attend the presentations.
    • 58 financial advisers registered to attend one of the two presentations.
    • The TPB reached a capacity of 77% of registrations. That is 768 tickets sold out of a possible 1002 available.

    The TPB conducted 10 sessions for tax agents, BAS agents and financial advisers who, if they provide tax advice in the context of financial services, will be registering with the TPB in 2014. The sessions lasted for 1.5 hours and counted as continuing professional education (CPE) for attendees.

    The sessions focused on registration requirements and an agent’s obligations under the Code of Professional Conduct. There was also an enthusiastic question and answer session at the end of each presentation.

    The feedback received was very positive. Comments received included:

    • “A very useful and informative presentation”
    • “The information provided a timely reminder on requirements of changes of circumstances and CPE”
    • “Great conversation and guidance. Looking forward to more sessions”
    • “Very worthwhile. Nice to have a face-to-face opportunity”.

    The TPB are planning further outreach activities, with a visit to Canberra scheduled in early 2014.

    ACT registered agents and agents from surrounding NSW regional areas will be invited to attend, including agents from Queanbeyan, Bungendore, Braidwood, Cooma, Batemans Bay, Bermagui, Bega, Merimbula, Hall, Yass, Goulburn, Crookwell, and Boorowa.

    $32,000 penalty for unregistered agent

    The Federal Court of Australia has ordered a registered BAS agent to pay a $32,000 penalty for unlawfully advertising and providing tax agent services for a fee.

    The Brisbane agent was not registered as a tax agent with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) but was registered as a BAS agent. However, from July 2010 to August 2012, he advertised and provided services which included preparing and lodging tax returns and amendment requests.

    REGISTRATIONS

    Applications on hand to be processed at 30 Oct 2013

    TA new registration applications

    615

    BAS new registration applications

    275

    TA renewal applications

    873

    BAS renewal applications

    242

    Total

    2005

    Current turnaround times – Oct 2013

    Type of application

    Current turnaround times (days) from the date application is complete and accurate

    Registering as a tax agent

    40

    Registering as a BAS new agent

    44

    Renewing a BAS agent registration

    11

    COMPLIANCE ACTIVITY

    Complaints and compliance activity focussing on BAS Agents

    The number of BAS agents currently under investigation for civil penalty provision breaches is nil.

    Please note that most of the sanctions applied relate to the Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance project, followed by the Personal Tax obligations project work rather than external complaints.

    Source of complaint or referral

    Total YTD at Oct 2013

    Total YTD at Oct 2013 for BAS agents only

    External sources

    494

    24

    Public

    407

    18

    Registered agent

    63

    6

    ATO Gatekeeper

    21

    0

    Professional Associations

    0

    0

    Media

    2

    0

    ASIC

    1

    0

    Internal sources

    325

    171

    TPB Registrations

    0

    0

    TPB Board/Legal

    2

    0

    TPB RA

    320

    171

    Other

    3

    0

    Total

    819

    195

    Updated figures for the tables below for BAS agents*

    Sanctions

    Total YTD

    YTD BAS agents only

    Terminations Part 4

    11

    2

    Terminations Part 3

    1

    1

    Renewals/Reg App Rejected

    7

    1

    Application to Federal Court

    6

    2

    Suspended

    39

    21

    Order Issued

    36

    21

    Written Caution

    32

    14

    Total

    132

    62

    * Cases that have had a stay granted in the AAT have the original outcome maintained for reporting purposes unless overturned in AAT.

    If the AAT remits the matter back to the BCC and the original decision is set aside, we report the new sanction imposed but do not change the case outcome.

    If BCC sanction is not imposed, the case is not recorded on this list of sanction outcomes.

    Board information

    PI Insurance

    Up until the TASA legislation changes in June 2013 the TPB was providing written notice to registered agents to require them to maintain PI insurance that met our requirements.

    From July 2013

    PI insurance is a registration eligibility and ongoing registration requirement.

    A registered agent or applicant must demonstrate that they maintain, or will be able to maintain, PI insurance that meets our requirements when they apply to register or renew their registration.

    We recently released a revised explanatory paper to explain our requirements, in light of the law change.

    Continuing Professional Education (CPE)

    From July 2013

    A registered agent seeking to renew their registration must undertake CPE that meets the TPB requirements.

    CPE is now a part of eligibility for registration as well as part of the Code.

    All registered agents are required to comply with the Code of Professional Conduct, including Code items (8), (10) and (12).

    The minimum hours of CPE per triennium for tax agents is 90 hours (minimum of 10 hours in any given year)

    The minimum hours of CPE per triennium for BAS agents is 45 hours (minimum of 5 hours in any given year)

    What counts as CPE activity?

    seminars, workshops, courses, lectures and training

    structured in-house training, conferences, discussion groups and webinars

    tertiary courses and educational activities, including distance learning

    CPE activities can include up to 25% of technical or professional reading.

    We recently released a revised explanatory paper to explain our requirements, in light of the law change.

    Declaring BAS Services

    From July 2013

    The TPB, by legislative instrument will be able to declare certain services as BAS services. We are currently developing the legislative instrument and hoping to have it tabled in Parliament shortly.

      Last modified: 06 Feb 2015QC 39578