Issued: 22 September 2021

Last modified: 12 October 2022

View the resources from our webinar Continuing professional education, held 22 September 2021. In this webinar we discuss the results of our recent CPE review. We have considered all the feedback we received during our consultation process and have now finalised our updated guidance.


Questions and answers

CPE requirements

Our CPE requirements are not based on points – it is hours based. 

Find out more about the hours required for your registration type.


Declaring that you are meeting your CPE obligations is part of the annual declaration process. You are also asked to make a similar declaration when renewing your registration. We will send you a reminder when both are due.


Tax agents with a research and development condition should complete a minimum 45 hours of CPE over three years, with a minimum 5 hours of CPE to be completed in any given year.

More information about CPE for conditional agents is published in our explanatory paper on CPE for registered tax and BAS agents.


You can complete relevant courses that are being provided by other organisations. There is no requirement for you to only complete courses provided by a recognised professional association. Any education activity relevant to the tax (financial) advice, tax agent or BAS services you provide that maintains, develops or promotes your skills, knowledge or attributes, is considered to be a CPE activity under our policy.

CPE and COVID-19

We would encourage you to explore and undertake online CPE offerings. These online activities are becoming more readily available during this difficult time. You can register for our free webinars and similar events held by the Australian Taxation Office, including their Open Forums.

You can also take advantage of the temporary removal of our 25% reading cap (until 31 December 2022). 

If you are still unable to reach your minimum number of hours for the year you can contact us and we will consider appropriate relief from the minimum amount of CPE hours, provided you can demonstrate that you have attempted to use the flexibility of your CPE period to comply with our requirements.


Our new CPE policy from 1 July 2022 allows you to undertake educative health and wellbeing activities up to 10% of your total CPE over your CPE period.


To make things easier for you, we’ve temporarily relaxed our CPE requirements, in response to COVID-19 circumstances. We are currently allowing activities which improve your knowledge and skills about the COVID-19 financial assistance packages being offered by the states and territories to be claimed as relevant CPE. This could include attending webinars or other learning events focused on the financial assistance packages.

CPE activities

There is no requirement under our policy to attend paid courses. We accept free training as long as it is relevant to the services you provide and develops your relevant personal knowledge and skills. Further, they should be provided by persons or organisations with suitable qualifications and/or practical experience in the relevant subject area.


If you are already registered with the TPB and are not using the Cert IV to gain your initial registration with us then it is considered CPE providing it is relevant to the tax agent, BAS agent or tax (financial) advice services you provide.


The best approach is to maintain a CPE log. We have one available on our website.


No, as the activity is not relevant to the tax (financial) advice, tax agent or BAS services you provide. However, CPE activities such as research or attending webinars to prepare material for lectures you deliver may count towards your CPE, providing the activities are relevant to the services you provide.


While the software training sessions are indirectly relevant to the services you provide, it will be considered relevant CPE because effective and accurate use of the software improves on the skills you need to competently provide services to clients.


No, you can only claim CPE activities that have been completed after your registration has commenced.


CPE is an ongoing registration requirement for individuals. Anyone registered with the TPB as a tax agent or BAS agent must meet their CPE obligations on an ongoing basis.

CPE changes

We did not propose any changes for conditional agents as part of this review, but we may review all conditions at some point in the future.


We have undertaken extensive consultation on this matter and it is important to understand that the CPE standard of 90 hours over three years equates to less than an hour per week. 

Some of the factors that we considered during the process include:

  • The expansion of BAS services: Since the commencement of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (in 2010) the scope of services that BAS agents can provide has expanded significantly. 

  • There has not been any change to the educational qualifications required for registration as a BAS agent, despite the significant expansion to their service offering. We anticipate that CPE will play a vital role in filling any gaps that may exist in a BAS agent’s knowledge, skills or competency.

  • When the CPE requirements commenced in June 2012, a lower CPE requirement was set for BAS agents to allow them time to undertake study to meet the primary education requirements for registration. 

  • CPE offerings for BAS agents have matured. Initially, the market for CPE relevant and designed to meet the needs of BAS agents was not yet mature or comprehensive. Since then, there has been a greater focus and drive towards the development of CPE activities by the professional associations and other organisations for the BAS agent profession. 

CPE hours

Registered tax practitioners must exercise their professional judgement as to what is relevant, but if the hours you are doing for your other requirements are relevant to the tax (financial) advice, tax agent or BAS services you provide, you can claim them for TPB purposes as well.


What this means is that you need to get to 90 hours by the end of a 3-year CPE period. But you can't do 90 hours in the last year – you need to do at least 20 hours in each year. For example you can do 20 hours in year one, 20 hours in year two and then in year three you must do 50 hours to complete the 90 hours in total.


You cannot count education you are undertaking to become registered as a tax practitioner towards CPE. Your CPE hours start from the date you are registered.

CPE exemptions

We would need to assess your circumstances on a case-by-case basis. You can contact us for assistance.


We do have exemptions for extenuating circumstances. Examples of situations where it might not be possible to complete the minimum level of CPE include: illness; financial or other hardship; family and/or caring commitments; or natural disaster. See our explanatory paper for more information. 


All registered individual tax practitioners must complete CPE. It is a requirement under the law, in this case, the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 and it is a renewal requirement for all individual tax practitioners. Complying with our CPE requirements, and ensuring you remain competent to provide tax services, is also one of your obligations under the Code of Professional Conduct. 

Evidence of CPE

Yes, we will accept this as evidence of attendance.


Generally, you will count the number of hours you spend on technical or professional reading. It is important that the record you keep in your CPE log book demonstrates the relevance of the reading to the tax (financial) advice, tax agent or BAS services you provide. The technical or professional reading must not be more than 25 per cent of CPE undertaken in your CPE period. However, we have temporarily removed this cap until 31 December 2022, although you must first and foremost, explore and undertake CPE offerings. 


No, you do not need to send your record to us. Just make sure you keep a record of it for 5 years in case we ask you to provide it at any stage.


When you renew your registration or complete your annual declaration you will need to confirm you have completed CPE in accordance with our minimum hours requirements. In addition, we may request you to provide evidence of CPE that you have completed at any time throughout your registration period. 

Structured and unstructured CPE

Structured CPE has a clear set of objectives, where the participant will seek or receive a specific learning objective and the CPE activity will provide a structured means to achieve that learning objective. 

Unstructured CPE on the other hand has no set knowledge/learning objective or structure, such as professional or technical reading.

Rolling over CPE

We encourage you to record your CPE as soon as possible. However, if you want to use the TPB’s CPE log to record all your CPE hours you can. Make sure when you transfer the information you have the correct dates and evidence. You should also include details of the activities and the hours completed.