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Frequently asked questions – Single Disciplinary Body for financial advisers

Frequently asked questions – single disciplinary body for financial advisers

An Act for the new disciplinary system for financial advisers received Royal Assent on 28 October 2021 – Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response—Better Advice) Act 2021 (Better Advice Act).

Under the Better Advice Act, from 1 January 2022, tax (financial) advisers will no longer be regulated by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). 

The following questions and answers should help you understand the changing regime for tax (financial) advisers and your registration with the TPB.  


Why has the Government changed the regulation of tax (financial) advisers?

Have these changes to establish the new single disciplinary body finalised?

I am a registered individual tax (financial) adviser. From 1 January 2022, what does the Better Advice Act mean for me and my tax (financial) adviser registration with the TPB? 

Should a registered company or partnership tax (financial) adviser register as a tax agent and are there any carve outs if all authorised representatives are tax agents? 

How can registered tax (financial) advisers ensure they can continue to legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee from 1 January 2022?

What is in the Better Advice Act?

What should a person or an entity not registered with the TPB as at 31 December 2021 do to legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee from 1 January 2022?

If I am a corporate authorised representative with ASIC and provide tax (financial) advice services, do I need to register with the TPB as a tax agent to continue providing these services?

I am a registered tax (financial) adviser and my TPB registration does not expire until later in the year. Am I allowed to use the Registered tax practitioner symbol? 

I am seeking to register my company as a tax agent to provide tax (financial) advice services. What types of individuals can I use to meet the sufficient number requirement?

If supervised advisers are not able to register with the TPB before 1 January 2022, can they continue to provide tax (financial) advice services? Will the supervisory relationship continue to exist?

Can a tax agent supervise individuals advisers who are not relevant providers?

If my client does not rely on the advice I provide for tax purposes, can you confirm that it is not considered a tax (financial) advice service under the Better Advice Act?

From 1 January 2022, if I make a complaint to the TPB about a tax (financial) adviser, will the TPB handle my complaint?

I am a member of a professional association that has been accredited by the TPB as a recognised tax (financial) adviser association. Will this accreditation still exist from 1 January 2022?

As an AFS licensee, how do I find out the basis of TPB registration of my advisers, whether it was education, association membership or other? This will be important to know to guide advisers on renewal and for licensee compliance.

Do AFS licensees have to apply as a tax agent as we receive the fees on behalf of our advisers, even where we pass on the fee in full?

I will be looking to surrender my tax (financial) adviser registration with the TPB before it expires, will you refund the fee I paid to the TPB?

Where can I get more information?

 

Why has the Government changed the regulation of tax (financial) advisers?

In 2019, the Government announced an independent review into the effectiveness of the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA) to ensure that tax agent services are provided to the public in accordance with appropriate professional and ethical standards.

On 27 November 2020, the Government released the final report and its response to the independent review. The TPB Review recommended (Recommendation 7.1) that, in alignment with implementing recommendation 2.10 of the Financial Services Royal Commission Final Report, a new model be developed for regulating tax (financial) advisers in consultation with Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), the TPB and Treasury.

The Government agreed in-principle to implement recommendation 7.1 by ensuring that the new disciplinary regime for financial advisers also applies to individual tax (financial) advisers.

On 9 December 2020, the Government announced that it would deliver Recommendation 2.10 from the Financial Services Royal Commission, which recommended a single disciplinary body be established and all financial advisers who provide personal financial advice to retail clients be registered.

To implement recommendation 2.10, the Government decided to expand the functions of Financial Services and Credit Panel to perform the role of the single disciplinary body for financial advisers by leveraging the panel’s existing expertise.

As part of the 9 December 2020 announcement, the Government also announced that it would wind-up the FASEA and transfer its functions to the Minister responsible for administering the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act) and ASIC.

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Have these changes to establish the new single disciplinary body finalised?

Yes, the Better Advice Act and the Financial Sector Reform Amendment (Hayne Royal Commission Response—Better Advice) Regulations 2021 (Better Advice Regulations) commenced on 1 January 2022.
 

I am a registered individual tax (financial) adviser. From 
1 January 2022, what does the Better Advice Act mean for me and my tax (financial) adviser registration with the TPB? 

Generally, if you are a financial adviser (also referred to as a relevant provider by ASIC) who was also a registered individual tax (financial) adviser as at 31 December 2021, you will be deemed to be registered as a relevant provider with ASIC (under Stage 1) from
1 January 2022.

Generally, you will also be deemed registered as a relevant provider with ASIC (under Stage 1) if you submitted an application to the TPB to register as an individual tax (financial) adviser by 31 December 2021 and your application was granted on or after
1 January 2022.

If one of the above situations applies to you, you can continue to provide tax (financial) advice services legally as a qualified tax relevant provider (QTRP). That is, you are taken to have met the requirements of the Corporations (Relevant Providers - Education and Training Standards) Determination 2021 (Relevant Providers Determination). The Relevant Providers Determination introduces additional education and training requirements for relevant providers who provide tax (financial) advice services. This includes the completion of specified courses in commercial law and taxation law. Refer to the ASIC website for further information. 

If you are not a financial adviser (for example, you provide advice to wholesale clients only) but you were a registered individual tax (financial) adviser as at 31 December 2021, you will not be deemed registered with ASIC. However, under the transitional arrangement, you can continue to provide tax (financial) advice services legally until 
31 December 2022 without being subject to a civil penalty. From 1 January 2023, you will need to be registered with the TPB as a tax agent* to legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee. 

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Should a registered company or partnership tax (financial) adviser register as a tax agent and are there any carve outs if all authorised representatives are tax agents?   

A company or partnership that was registered as a tax (financial) adviser as at 31 December 2021 may rely on the transitional arrangement. Under the transitional arrangement, the company or partnership can continue to legally provide tax (financial) advice services between 1 January and 31 December 2022, without being subject to a civil penalty.

However from 1 January 2023, the company or partnership must be:

  • registered as a tax agent*; or
  • ensure that all individuals providing tax (financial) advice services on its behalf are either registered tax agents* or qualified tax relevant providers (i.e. registered relevant providers who meet the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination). 
     

How can registered tax (financial) advisers ensure they can continue to legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee from 1 January 2022? 

This will depend on whether the tax (financial) adviser:

  • has an individual, or a company or partnership registration
  • is a financial adviser 
  • registration expires before or on/after 1 January 2022
  • has lodged their renewal application by a certain date.

The following scenarios should assist in understanding how you can legally continue to provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee from 1 January 2022.

Scenario What you need to do
1 Individual tax (financial) adviser with their registration expiring before 31 December 2021 and a renewal had not been lodged by 31 December 2021.
 
The individual is also a financial adviser.

You need to apply to:

  • register as a tax agent* with the TPB, or 
  • register as a relevant provider with ASIC by
    1 January 2023 and, from 1 January 2022, satisfy the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination (as a provider of tax (financial) advice services). 

From 1 January 2022, if you are registered with the TPB as a tax agent* or are a relevant provider who meets the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination, you can provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee.

Under Stage 1, relevant provider registration will be made available to AFS licensees by 1 October 2022, via ASIC Connect. 

From 1 January 2023, all relevant providers must be registered. Once registered under Stage 1, a registration will generally remain in force until Stage 2 of the registration process begins. 

Under Stage 2, relevant provider registration will be administered by the Australian Tax Office as part of the Australian Business Registry Services. Registrations will need to be renewed on an annual basis.

See ASIC Information Sheet 268 for further information.

2

Individual tax (financial) adviser had their registration expiring before 31 December 2021 and a renewal has not been lodged by 31 December 2021.

The individual is not a financial adviser.

You need to apply to register as a tax agent* with the TPB. 

For further information about the requirements to register with the TPB, see Registering as an individual tax agent to provide tax (financial) advice services.

Once registered with the TPB, you can provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee.

3

A company or partnership tax (financial) adviser with their registration expiring before
31 December 2021 and a renewal had not been lodged by 31 December 2021.

The company or partnership must either be:

  • registered as a tax agent* with the TPB, or
  • ensure all individuals providing tax (financial) advice services on its behalf is either a registered tax agent* or a qualified tax relevant provider (i.e. a relevant provider who meets the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination)  

If the company or partnership meets one of the above requirements, it can legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee.  

For further information about the requirements to register with the TPB, refer to Registering as a company or partnership tax agent.

4

Individual tax (financial) adviser has their registration expiring on or after 1 January 2022.

The individual is also a financial adviser.

You don’t have to do anything.

You will be deemed registered with ASIC as a relevant provider under Stage 1 and taken to be a qualified tax relevant provider under the Better Advice Act (i.e., you are taken to satisfy the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination as a provider of tax (financial) advice services). You can continue to legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee.

5

Individual tax (financial) adviser has their registration expiring on or after 1 January 2022.

The individual is not a financial adviser.

Registration as a tax (financial) adviser with the TPB ceased on 1 January 2022. Under the transitional arrangement, you can continue to legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee between
1 January and 31 December 2022. 

However, from 1 January 2023, you must be registered as a tax agent* with the TPB to legally provide tax (financial) advice services.

For further information about the requirements to register with the TPB, see Registering as an individual tax agent to provide tax (financial) advice services.

6 Company or partnership tax (financial) adviser with registration expiring on or after
1 January 2022. 

Registration as a tax (financial) adviser with the TPB ceased on 1 January 2022. Under the transitional arrangement, the company or partnership can legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee between 1 January and 31 December 2022.

However, from 1 January 2023, the company or partnership must either be:

  • registered as a tax agent* with the TPB, or
  • ensure all individuals providing tax (financial) advice services on its behalf is either a registered tax agent* or a qualified tax relevant provider (i.e., a relevant provider who meets the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination as a provider of tax (financial) advice services.

From 1 January 2023, all relevant providers must be registered with ASIC (under Stage 1). Relevant provider registration will be available to AFS licensees via ASIC Connect by 1 October 2022. 

After being registered under Stage 1, registration will generally remain in force until Stage 2 of the registration process begins. Examples of where registration will cease include where a registration prohibition or banning order is made against a relevant provider, or where a relevant provider’s authorisation to provide personal advice to retail clients ceases to be in force (for example, where a representative becomes a representative of a different AFS licensee).

Under Stage 2, relevant provider registration will be administered by the Australian Tax Office as part of the Australian Business Registry Services. Registrations will need to be renewed annually.

Please see ASIC Information Sheet 268 for further information.

For further information about the requirements to register with the TPB, refer to Registering as a company or partnership tax agent.

You can also refer to Registration options for providing tax (financial) advice services from 1 January 2022.  

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What is in the Better Advice Act?

The Better Advice Act further streamlines the number of bodies involved in the oversight of financial advisers from 1 January 2022. In summary, the Act seeks to:

  • strengthen the financial advice sector and establish a single disciplinary body for financial advisers, requiring all financial advisers who provide personal financial advice to retail clients to be registered
  • expand the role of the Financial Services and Credit Panel within ASIC to operate as the single disciplinary body for financial advisers to ensure that less serious misconduct does not go unaddressed
  • create additional penalties and sanctions for financial advisers who have breached their obligations under the Corporations Act 2001
  • transfer functions from FASEA to the Minister responsible for administering the Corporations Act 2001 and to ASIC to streamline the regulation of financial advisers
  • ensure that tax (financial) advisers will no longer be regulated by the TPB but instead will be regulated only under the Corporations Act 2001.

 

What should a person or an entity not registered with the TPB as at 31 December 2021 do to legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee from 1 January 2022? 

The table below provides scenarios to help you understand what an unregistered individual or entity should do to ensure they can legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee from 1 January 2022. 

Scenario  What you need to do to 
1 Individual who is a financial adviser

You need to apply to:

  • register as a tax agent* with the TPB, or 
  • register as a relevant provider (with ASIC under Stage 1) and satisfy the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination (as a provider of tax (financial) advice services). 

From 1 January 2022, if you are registered with the TPB or you meet the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination, you can provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee. 

From 1 January 2023, all relevant providers must be registered to continue providing personal advice to retail clients in relation to relevant financial products. This includes relevant providers who provide, or intend to provide, tax (financial) advice services. Relevant provider registration will be made available to AFS licensees via ASIC Connect by 1 October 2022.

2 Individual who is not a financial adviser

You need to apply to register as a tax agent* with the TPB. 

Once registered with the TPB, you can legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee.

For further information about the requirements to register with the TPB, see Registering as an individual tax agent to provide tax (financial) advice services.

3 Company or partnership entity

The company or partnership must either be:

  • registered as a tax agent* with the TPB, or
  • ensure all individuals providing tax (financial) advice services on its behalf is either a registered tax agent* or are a qualified tax relevant provider (that is, a relevant provider who has met the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination as a provider of tax (financial) advice services.

From 1 January 2023, all relevant providers must be registered with ASIC (under Stage 1). Relevant provider registration will be made available to AFS licensees, via ASIC Connect, by
1 October 2022. 

If the company or partnership meets one of the above requirements, it can legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee.  

For further information about the requirements to register with the TPB, refer to Registering as a company or partnership tax agent.

For further information about relevant provider registration, see ASIC Information Sheet 268.

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If I am a corporate authorised representative with ASIC and provide tax (financial) advice services, do I need to register with the TPB as a tax agent to continue providing these services?

If a company wants to provide tax (financial) advice services from 1 January 2022, the company will need to either be:

  • a tax agent* registered with the TPB, or 
  • ensure that all persons providing tax (financial) advice services on the company's behalf are either registered tax agents* or are qualified tax relevant providers (that is, they are registered relevant providers who meet the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination). 

However, if the company was a registered tax (financial) adviser as at 31 December 2021, the company can legally provide tax (financial) advice services until 31 December 2022 under the transitional arrangement. 

From 1 January 2023, all relevant providers must be registered with ASIC (under Stage 1). Relevant provider registration will be made available to AFS licensees, via ASIC Connect, by 1 October 2022.
 

I am a registered tax (financial) adviser and my TPB registration does not expire until later in the year. Am I allowed to use the Registered tax practitioner symbol? 

If you are also a relevant provider who provides tax (financial) advice services, you may use the Registered tax practitioner symbol (symbol) until your TPB registration expires. 

However, if you are not a relevant provider with ASIC, you are not permitted to use the symbol from 1 January 2022. This is because your tax (financial) adviser registration ceased on 1 January 2022 and you would no longer meet the certification requirements for using the symbol.


I am seeking to register my company as a tax agent to provide tax (financial) advice services. What types of individuals can I use to meet the sufficient number requirement? 

The company must have registered individual tax agent(s)* to meet the sufficient number requirement. These individual tax agent(s) may include those with a condition of providing tax (financial) advice services only.   

However, if the company only uses these conditional (individual) tax agent(s), we may impose a condition on the company’s registration also to provide only tax (financial) advice services.

For further information about sufficient number requirements, refer to Supervision and control – tax agents.
 

If supervised advisers are not able to register with the TPB before 1 January 2022, can they continue to provide tax (financial) advice services? Will the supervisory relationship continue to exist?   

It depends on whether the company or partnership they provide tax (financial) advice services on behalf of, has qualified for the transitional arrangement. Under this arrangement, these entities can legally continue to provide tax (financial) advice services between 1 January and 31 December 2022 without being subject to a civil penalty. In these circumstances, individuals who are providing tax (financial) advice services on behalf of a company or partnership can continue those existing arrangements during the transitional period.

However, if the company or partnership has not qualified for the transitional arrangement and the supervised advisers are not able to register with the TPB before 1 January 2022, they must register as a tax agent* or meet the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination (and by 1 January 2023 be registered as a Relevant Provider with ASIC under Stage 1 of the relevant provider registration process) in order to legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee or other reward. 

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Can a tax agent supervise individuals who are not relevant providers?

Yes, registered tax agents* can supervise individuals providing tax (financial) advice services on their behalf.

 

If my client does not rely on the advice I provide for tax purposes, can you confirm that it is not considered a tax (financial) advice service under the Better Advice Act?

Yes. The Better Advice Act does not change the definition of a tax (financial) advice service.  

If it is not reasonable to expect the client to rely on your advice for tax purposes, then the advice is not considered a tax (financial) advice service.
 

From 1 January 2022, if I make a complaint to the TPB about a tax (financial) adviser, will the TPB handle my complaint?

The TPB will be able to consider your complaint so long as the complaint relates to conduct that occurred before 1 January 2022. 

If your complaint relates to conduct after 1 January 2022, contact ASIC.

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I am a member of a professional association accredited by the TPB as a recognised tax (financial) adviser association. Will this accreditation still exist from 1 January 2022?

No. From 1 January 2022 the TPB will no longer be able to recognise (or continue to recognise) associations as 'recognised tax (financial) adviser associations'.

 

As an AFS licensee, how do I find out the basis of TPB registration of my advisers, whether it was education, association membership or other? This will be important to know to guide advisers on renewal and for licensee compliance.

If you are an authorised contact of your adviser/s, you can contact us via our general enquiry form to obtain the registration details of your adviser/s.

 

Do AFS licensees have to apply as a tax agent as we receive the fees on behalf of our advisers, even where we pass on the fee in full?

Generally, the individual or entity that invoices for the tax (financial) advice services provided must be registered. 

Refer to an earlier question where we have discussed different scenarios. Depending on your situation, you may need to register either as a tax agent* or as a relevant provider (who also satisfies the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination to provide tax (financial) advice services).

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I will be looking to surrender my tax (financial) adviser registration with the TPB before it expires, will you refund the fee I paid to the TPB?

Under the TASA there are no refunds if you wish to surrender your registration part way through your registration period as the fee paid was an application fee.

If you want to keep providing tax (financial) advice services you will need to be registered with ASIC under Stage 1 as a relevant provider (who also satisfies the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination to provide tax (financial) advice services) and pay a corresponding registration fee to ASIC, or be registered with the TPB as a tax agent*.

 

Where can I get more information?

For further information, refer to:

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* Note: Where asterixed, the term ‘tax agent’ is used in these FAQs to refer to those with no condition on their registration or those with a condition on their registration to provide only tax (financial) advice services.

 

Last modified: 12 May 2022