Second Reading Speech
This Bill amends various taxation laws to implement a range of improvements to Australia's taxation laws.
Schedule 1 amends the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 to ensure that entities that provide tax agent services in the course of giving advice of a kind that is usually given by a financial services licensee or a representative of licensees are subject to the regulatory regime of the Tax Practitioners Board.
These are important consumer protection amendments to ensure the appropriate regulation of all forms of tax advice, irrespective of whether it is provided by a tax agent, a BAS agent or an entity in the financial services industry.
These reforms have been subject to extensive consultation with industry. On 6 June 2013, the amendments were also referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services. The Committee delivered its report on 17 June and recommended that Parliament pass the amendments.
Throughout this process, we have listened to the concerns of the financial services industry. The Government will extend the current exemption and the commencement date of the new regime by 12 months until 1 July 2014. This will allow industry ample time to prepare for the new regime. From 1 July 2014, there will be a three-year transitional period, during which financial services licensees and their representatives may register with the Tax Practitioners Board without meeting all of the education and experience requirements.
The Government will also undertake further consultation on whether it is necessary to amend the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009 to ensure the Regulations align with the Government's intent that the following services should not constitute tax agent services:
- tax advice provided by a superannuation fund or pension fund pursuant to the issuance of a payment summary;
- services provided by a superannuation fund's representatives pursuant to Intra-fund advice' provisions;
- advice provided by an insurer pursuant to payments of income protection or salary continuance insurance payments and corresponding issue of payment summary and advice therein; and
- services provided by responsible entities of managed investment schemes to the scheme.
Schedule 2 also amends the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 to correct a range of technical issues.
Schedule 3 amends the list of deductible gift recipients (DGR) in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. Taxpayers can claim income tax deductions for certain gifts to organisations with DGR status. DGR status will assist the listed organisations to attract public support for their activities.
Schedule 3 adds two new organisations to the Act, namely, the Australian Council of Social Service Incorporated and Make a Mark Australia Incorporated.
Full details of the measure are contained in the explanatory memorandum.