Continuing professional education for tax agents
When renewing your registration, you must have completed continuing professional education (CPE) that meets our requirements.
Complying with our CPE requirements will assist you to maintain knowledge and skills relevant to the tax agent services (which include BAS and tax (financial) advice services) you provide, which is one of your obligations under the Code of Professional Conduct.
You should maintain a record of your CPE activities. We may request you to provide evidence of CPE that you have completed at any time throughout your registration period, including when we are considering your renewal application.
Our new CPE requirements commenced on 1 July 2022.
Download our handy CPE factsheet (PDF, 606KB) for an overview of our CPE requirements.
Number of CPE hours for tax agents
|Type of tax agent registration||Minimum number of CPE hours within a 3-year registration||Minimum number of CPE hours each year|
|Conditional: Tax (financial) advice services||60 hours||7 hours|
|Conditional: Australian financial services||60 hours||7 hours|
|Conditional: Quantity surveying||6 hours||2 hours|
|Conditional: Fuel tax credit specialty||6 hours||2 hours|
|Any other condition||45 hours||5 hours|
Your CPE period will begin on the date you are registered and end on the date your registration expires (generally 3 years).
However, if you are a member of a recognised professional association, you can elect to align your CPE period with the CPE period of your professional association. This means that you can elect to have your CPE period to begin either on 1 January in the calendar year or on 1 July in the financial year, following the date of your registration.
Refer to our frequently asked questions (FAQs) which explain when your CPE period will start. The FAQs include examples for the following scenarios:
- registering for the first time
- renewing your registration
- electing your CPE period if you are a member of a recognised professional association.
You cannot alter your CPE period once elected unless you have changed your membership to another recognised professional association. In this situation, you can make a new election at the end of your existing CPE period to align it to your new association’s period.
Recognition of your association’s CPE
If you are a member of a recognised professional association your compliance with your association’s CPE requirements will be accepted as meeting our CPE requirements, subject to the CPE activities:
- being relevant to the tax agent services you provide
- being provided by persons or organisations with suitable qualifications and/or practical experience in the subject area
- meeting our minimum amount of CPE hours as mentioned above.
Types of activities that count for CPE
The CPE activities you undertake must be relevant to the tax agent services you provide. However, these CPE activities need not be limited to only those areas that help improve your technical knowledge. Other areas such as practice management and ethics are also relevant and important to ensure you provide a competent service to your clients.
Your CPE activities can also include up to 10% of educative health and wellbeing activities over your CPE period. These activities could include attending webinars about how to manage stress and self-care.
Derek is a registered tax agent.
In the first year of his CPE period, Derek attended a 2-hour seminar during Mental Health Month on the topic of managing for wellbeing. In the second year of his CPE period, Derek attended a 4-hour conference covering topics such as how to manage trauma in the workplace and implementing flexible work and health arrangements in the workplace. In the third year, Derek attended a 2-hour webinar on stress management techniques.
As Derek has undertaken no more than 10 per cent of his CPE in educative health and wellbeing activities, he can count the 8 hours towards his CPE for the relevant CPE period.
We do not accredit CPE activities or prescribe particular topics for CPE activities. For types of CPE activities we consider appropriate refer to CPE activities.
Our CPE policy requires that no more than 25% of CPE should be undertaken through relevant technical/professional reading. In light of ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts, we have temporarily removed this 25% cap until 31 December 2022. However, you must first and foremost, explore and undertake CPE offerings.
Recording CPE activities
You should maintain a record and evidence of the CPE activities that you have completed. The record should be made as soon as possible after your CPE activity is completed and should include details of the activities and the hours completed.
We have developed a CPE log that you may like to use to assist with your record keeping requirements.
If you maintain a CPE log to satisfy membership requirements of a relevant recognised professional association, you do not need to keep an additional record.
Records of your CPE should be kept for 5 years from the end of your CPE period.
We will require confirmation of CPE completed when you renew your registration. In addition, we may request evidence or confirmation of the CPE activities that you have completed at any time during your registration period. This may require you to provide a record of your CPE activities such as a CPE log.
Special circumstances that affect your CPE
There may be extenuating circumstances where you are unable to complete the minimum hours of CPE. If you experience such circumstances, you should exercise your professional judgment in this regard and keep appropriate records in relation to your situation.
Examples of situations where it might not be possible for you to complete the minimum amount of CPE hours include:
- family and/or caring responsibilities (such as maternity or paternity leave)
- financial or other hardship.
In these types of circumstances, 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 manage any extenuating circumstances to comply with our CPE requirements.
Example: Using the flexibility of the 3-year CPE period
Tim is a tax agent and is a partner in a medium-sized accounting firm. In the first year of his CPE period, Tim is diagnosed with a serious illness and is unable to work for six months and manages to complete only 5 hours of CPE in that year.
Tim completes 55 hours of CPE in the second year and 60 hours of CPE in the third year.
In this case, we will accept that Tim has completed CPE that meets our requirements, despite Tim not having completed the minimum 20 hours of CPE in the first year.
For more information refer to:
- TPB(EP) 07/2021 Continuing professional education requirements for tax and BAS agents from 1 July 2022
- TPB(EP) 08/2022 Continuing professional education policy requirements for tax agents with a tax (financial) advice services condition
- Frequently asked questions on the new CPE requirements from 1 July 2022
Last modified: 1 July 2022