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Frequently asked questions on the new CPE requirements from 1 July 2022

Frequently asked questions on the new CPE requirements from 1 July 2022

Our new continuing professional education (CPE) policy for tax and BAS agents will commence from 1 July 2022. The following questions will help you understand our new requirements and the reasons why we revised our requirements.

Why is the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) changing the CPE requirements for tax and BAS agents?

What has changed in the new CPE policy?

When do the new CPE requirements apply for new registrants and those renewing their registration?

Why have the CPE hours increased for BAS agents when they do not provide the range of tax services that tax agents do?

Once I elect to align my CPE period with my recognised professional association, can I change it if I change my membership to another association?

I’m a registered BAS agent and work part-time. Can I complete a reduced amount of CPE?

I’m a registered BAS agent and did not work for 6 months due to caring responsibilities? Can I complete a reduced amount of CPE?

I’m a registered tax agent with a Quantity surveyor condition. Is there any change to the CPE hours I must complete?

When will I have to submit evidence of CPE completed to the TPB?

What kind of evidence does the TPB require me to keep?

If I am unable to complete the minimum CPE hours in one year, can I make up the hours in the other years within my CPE period?

Can you give examples of health and wellbeing CPE activities I could complete?

Are there any penalties for not completing the required CPE hours?

Are there any mandatory topics for CPE which I need to complete?

Can you provide examples of topics that may not directly relate to the tax agent or BAS services that we provide but would count as relevant CPE?

What types of CPE activities are recommended?

 

Why is the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) changing the CPE requirements for tax and BAS agents?

Our CPE policy was due for a review given that the requirements were originally set in 2012. We undertook extensive consultation over a period of 12 months with the professional associations, registered tax practitioners, the public and other key stakeholders. The feedback that was received during the various phases of consultation helped shape the new requirements. 

We believe the new CPE requirements will further enhance the standards of the tax profession and increase consumer protection, which is the key objective of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009. The new policy also recognises that the scope and nature of services provided by tax and BAS agents has evolved over these years, with businesses operating in an increasingly complex environment and tax laws changing to adapt to the changing environment. CPE plays a vital role in assisting tax and BAS agents to keep up their knowledge and skills, and adapt as the law, society and client needs change. 

 

What has changed in the new CPE policy?

Some of the key changes from the current policy include the following:

  • Tax agents should complete a minimum of 120 hours of CPE over a 3-year period – an increase from 90 hours over a 3-year period. 
  • BAS agents should complete a minimum of 90 hours of CPE over a 3-year period – an increase from 45 hours over a 3-year period.
  • Both tax and BAS agents should complete a minimum of 20 hours of CPE each year. This has been increased from 10 hours per year for tax agents and 5 hours per year for BAS agents.
  • If you are a member of a recognised professional association, under the new policy, you will be able to align your CPE period with the CPE period of your professional association. This means that you can elect to have your CPE period based on a financial year or a calendar year, thus providing you with greater flexibility. 
  • The new policy will allow you to complete health and well-being activities up to a maximum of 10% of the required CPE hours. This may include activities such as attending webinars about how to manage stress and self-care. This is in recognition of the importance of the health and wellbeing of tax practitioners.
  • The CPE record-keeping requirement will be reduced from six to five years.
  • Inclusion of family and/or caring commitments (such as maternity or paternity leave) as exceptional circumstances for not being able to complete the minimum CPE hours, thus providing flexibility for those who may be affected.

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When do the new CPE requirements apply for new registrants and those renewing their registration?

The new CPE requirements will take effect from 1 July 2022. However, the start date of the new CPE requirements will depend on whether or not tax practitioners are members of a recognised professional association and elect to align their CPE period with that of their professional association. 

The scenarios in the table below provide an overview of when the new CPE requirements will apply to those registering for the first time and those that are renewing their registration:

NEW REGISTRATION APPLICATION
Example Scenario Description
1 Tax practitioner that is not a member of a recognised professional association

Isabel becomes a newly registered BAS agent on 15 October 2022. Isabel is not a member of a recognised professional association. 

The new CPE requirements will apply to Isabel from the date of registration. That is, her CPE period will commence on 15 October 2022 and end on 14 October 2025, which aligns with Isabel’s registration period.

From 15 October 2022, Isabel will need to complete 90 hours of CPE and ensure that for each year of her CPE period, she completes a minimum of 20 hours of CPE.

2 Tax practitioner that is a member of a recognised professional association. The association’s CPE period is based on a financial year.

Tim becomes a newly registered tax agent on 5 September 2022. Tim is a member of a recognised professional association. 

Tim will be subject to the TPB’s new CPE requirements from the date of registration, that is, 5 September 2022.

However, as Tim is a member of a recognised professional association, he elects to align his CPE period with the CPE period of his association, which is based on a financial year. This means that Tim’s first CPE period will commence 1 July 2023 and end 30 June 2026. From the period 1 September 2022 (the date of registration) to 30 June 2023, Tim will need to comply with the new CPE requirements, to be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

From 1 July 2023, Tim will need to complete 120 hours of CPE and ensure that for each year of his CPE period, he completes a minimum of 20 hours of CPE. 

3 Tax practitioner that is a member of a recognised professional association. The association’s CPE period is based on a calendar year. 

Marissa becomes a newly registered tax agent on 2 November 2022. Marissa is a member of a recognised professional association. 

Marissa will be subject to the TPB’s new CPE requirements from the date of registration, that is, 2 November 2022.

However, as Marissa is a member of a recognised professional association, she elects to align her CPE period with the CPE period of her association, which is based on a calendar year. This means that Marissa’s first CPE period will commence 1 January 2023 and end 30 December 2025. From the period 2 November 2022 (the date of registration) to 30 December 2022, Marissa will need to comply with the new CPE requirements, to be calculated on a pro-rata basis.

From 1 January 2023, Marissa will need to complete 120 hours of CPE and ensure that for each year of her CPE period, she completes a minimum of 20 hours of CPE. 

RENEWAL APPLICATION
4 Tax practitioner that is not a member of a recognised professional association

Matthew is a registered tax agent and his next renewal is due on 1 September 2022 (30 days before his registration is due to expire). Matthew is not a member of a recognised professional association. 

Assuming Matthew’s renewal application is approved, his registration date will be 1 October 2022. From that date, Matthew will be subject to the TPB’s new CPE requirements.

As Matthew is not a member of a recognised professional association, Matthew’s CPE period will commence on 1 October 2022 and end 30 September 2025, which aligns with Matthew’s registration period.

From 1 October 2022, Matthew will need to complete 120 hours of CPE and ensure that for each year of his CPE period, he completes a minimum of 20 hours of CPE.

Until 1 October 2022, Matthew will need to ensure that he continues to comply with the previous requirement to complete 90 hours of CPE, with a minimum of 10 hours of CPE each year.

5 Tax practitioner that is a member of a recognised professional association. The association’s CPE period is based on a financial year.

Abby is currently registered as a BAS agent and her next renewal is due on 1 November 2022 (30 days before her registration is due to expire). Abby is a member of a recognised professional association. 

Assuming Abby’s renewal application is approved, her registration date will be 1 December 2022. From that date, Abby will be subject to the TPB’s new CPE requirements.

However, as Abby is a member of a recognised professional association, she elects to align her CPE period with the CPE period of her association, which is based on a financial year. This means that Abby’s first CPE period will commence on 1 July 2023 and end 30 June 2026.

From 1 July 2023, Abby will need to complete 90 hours of CPE and ensure that for each year of her CPE period, she completes a minimum of 20 hours of CPE. 

Until 1 July 2023, Abby will need to ensure that she continues to comply with the previous requirement to complete 45 hours of CPE, with a minimum of 5 hours each year. For the period 1 December 2022 to 30 June 2023, this will need to be calculated on a pro-rate basis.

6 Tax practitioner that is a member of a recognised professional association. The association’s CPE period is based on a calendar year. 

Daryl is currently registered as a tax agent and his next renewal is due on 1 August 2022 (30 days before her registration is due to expire). Daryl is a member of a recognised professional association. 

Assuming Daryl’s renewal application is approved, his registration date will be 31 August 2022. From that date, Daryl will be subject to the TPB’s new CPE requirements.

However, as Daryl is a member of a recognised professional association, he elects to align his CPE period with the CPE period of his association, which is based on a calendar year. This means that Daryl’s first CPE period will commence on 1 January 2023 and end 30 December 2026.

From 1 January 2023, Daryl will need to complete 120 hours of CPE and ensure that for each year of his CPE period, he completes a minimum of 20 hours of CPE. 

Until 1 January 2023, Daryl will need to ensure that he continues to comply with the previous requirement to complete 90 hours of CPE, with a minimum of 10 hours each year. For the period 31 August 2022 to 30 June 2023, this will need to be calculated on a pro-rate basis.

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Why have the CPE hours increased for BAS agents when they do not provide the range of tax services that tax agents do?

There has been a significant growth in the BAS agent population since the TPB was established. The BAS agent population has grown fivefold from approximately 3,200 in 2009–10 to over 16,000 in 2020–21. During this period, there has also been a significant expansion in the range of services that BAS agents can lawfully provide. 

The increasing demand and reliance placed on BAS agents to assist businesses in complying with their tax obligations speaks of the recognition and professional standing of BAS agents within the tax profession and the broader community. 

The increased demand for BAS services and the expansion of BAS services has led to an increase in the range and maturity of CPE activities that have become available to BAS agents. 

The increase in CPE hours reflects these changes that have occurred in the industry and will enable BAS agents to bridge any gap in skills and competency to better serve their client needs.

 

Once I elect to align my CPE period with my recognised professional association, can I change it if I change my membership to another association?

Yes, you can make a new election at the end of your current CPE period to align it to your new recognised professional association’s period.

 

I’m a registered BAS agent and work part-time. Can I complete a reduced amount of CPE?

We have allowed flexibility in our policy by spreading the CPE hours you need to complete over a 3-year period. Even if you work part-time you need to maintain your knowledge and skills to be able to provide competent services to your clients. So you are still required to complete a minimum of 90 hours of CPE over a 3-year period.

However, if you work part-time due to some extenuating circumstances, you can request some relief from the minimum level of CPE. Even under these circumstances you must show that you have attempted to use the flexibility of the CPE period to complete the minimum CPE hours required. 

 

I’m a registered BAS agent and did not work for 6 months due to caring responsibilities? Can I complete a reduced amount of CPE?

We acknowledge that there may be some exceptional circumstances, such as having caring responsibilities, when you may not be able to complete the minimum hours of CPE. In these extenuating circumstances, you can apply to us for relief from the minimum level of CPE. In your request you should explain the attempts you have made to use the flexibility of the CPE period to manage these exceptional circumstances. 

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I’m a registered tax agent with a Quantity surveyor condition. Is there any change to the CPE hours I must complete?

No, you should complete six hours of CPE over your CPE period, with a minimum of two hours per year.

 

When will I have to submit evidence of CPE completed to the TPB?

You must submit evidence of CPE completed when we request you to do so. This may occur anytime during your registration period or at the time of your registration renewal.

 

What kind of evidence does the TPB require me to keep?

You should make a record of the CPE activities you complete as soon as possible and practicable after you complete the activity. You should include sufficient details about the activities and the hours completed. Where the CPE activity is unstructured, (for example, technical or professional reading, video or audio materials or group discussions on technical topics), you should record sufficient details to show the relevance of the activity to the tax agent or BAS services you provide. 

For structured activities, evidence can include email confirmation for training, webinars or courses attended. You can use our CPE log or that of your professional association to record details. You must keep your CPE records for five years from the end of the relevant CPE period. 

 

If I am unable to complete the minimum CPE hours in one year, can I make up the hours in the other years within my CPE period?

You should complete a minimum of 20 hours of CPE each year. In the other two years, you should make sure you complete sufficient hours to meet the total CPE hours requirement over a 3-year period.

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Can you give examples of health and wellbeing CPE activities I could complete?

Health and wellbeing CPE activities could include attending webinars about managing your mental health, stress and self-care. These activities can also include training and webinars you attend to support the mental health and wellbeing of your staff.

 

Are there any penalties for not completing the required CPE hours?

If you do not complete the minimum level of CPE hours required and you do not have any extenuating circumstances that have affected your ability to meet the minimum requirements, you may be in breach of the Code of Professional Conduct. We may impose sanctions for the breach.

 

Are there any mandatory topics for CPE which I need to complete?

No, there are no mandatory topics but the topics you choose must be relevant to the tax agent or BAS services that you provide or help you to manage your practice so you can provide competent services to your clients. 

 

Can you provide examples of topics that may not directly relate to the tax agent or BAS services that we provide but would count as relevant CPE?

Undertaking CPE on topics such as practice management, ethics, digital literacy and cyber security would all count towards your CPE as these would help manage your practice efficiently and effectively. Additionally, we have included health and wellbeing educational activities in our policy as relevant CPE to a maximum of 10% of your total CPE hours.

 

What types of CPE activities are recommended?

There are a range of activities you can undertake such as attending webinars, seminars, podcasts, courses including computer or internet-assisted courses, professional or technical reading. For more examples, refer to ‘CPE activities’ in our explanatory paper

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Last modified: 30 November 2021