TOC (auto-generated)


Thank you for joining Ian Klug (TPB Chair), Elinor Kasapidis (Tax Practitioner Governance and Standards Forum Co-Chair), Michael O’Neill (TPB CEO/Secretary), Janette Luu (Acting Assistant Secretary) and Nadja Harris (Acting TPB Director of Policy and Legislation) at the Tax Practitioner Governance and Standards Forum (GSF) held on Tuesday 6 December 2022. We appreciate your valuable input and have produced a summary of the key messages from the meeting, below.

Opening remarks and introductions

The Co-Chairs welcomed everyone to the GSF. The following organisations were represented:

  • Association of Accounting Technicians Australia

  • Australian Bookkeepers Association

  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

  • Corporate Tax Association

  • CPA Australia

  • Financial Planning Association of Australia

  • Institute of Public Accountants

  • Law Council of Australia

  • SMSF Association

  • The Tax Institute

  • The Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

  • The Professional Standards Councils and Authority and

  • Tax Practitioners Board.

The representative for the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers was an apology for this meeting. 

The Treasury attending the meeting to hear feedback from the GSF members, as well as members from the TPB’s Consultative Forum, in respect of exposure draft legislation and explanatory material to implement the following recommendations from the Independent Review of the TPB:

  • Recommendation 2.1 – amend the object clause of the TASA to make it more contemporary and better aligned with the TPB’s role and responsibilities.

  • Recommendation 3.1 – enhance the TPB’s financial independence by establishing a Special Account.

  • Recommendation 4.6 – amending the TASA to strengthen the disclosure requirements to require tax practitioners to not employ or use disqualified entities in the provision of tax agent services without approval from the TPB.

  • Recommendation 4.7 – converting the 3-year registration cycle to annual registration to align with the TPB’s administrative annual declaration process.

  • Recommendation 5.1 – amending the TASA to give the relevant Minister the power to supplement the TASA’s Code of Professional Conduct (the Code) to address emerging or existing behaviours and practices.

Members were thanked for their input and Treasury agreed to consider the feedback, together with the wider consultation process.

October Budget announcements

The TPB and ATO provided an update to GSF members in relation to the Government’s respective Budget announcements for both agencies affecting tax practitioners.

In respect of Government’s announcement regarding the TPB’s Expanded Compliance Program (ECP), the TPB noted:

  • The Government will provide $30.4 million to the TPB to increase compliance investigations into high-risk tax practitioners and unregistered preparers over 4 years from 1 July 2023.

  • TPB will undertake additional compliance investigations targeting high-risk tax practitioners and unregistered tax preparers. These investigations will generate additional revenue for Government of $82 million, over 3 years from 1 July 2023.  This amount arises mainly from improved voluntary compliance of taxpayers who move from high risk to compliant tax practitioners and additional tax compliance from higher risk tax practitioners themselves.

TPB is in the process of developing an implementation roadmap in respect of the ECP, which will be shared with the GSF at the next meeting.

In respect of Government’s announcements for the ATO, the ATO provided an update in respect of the following ATO programs:

  • The Government has committed to the ATOs compliance work, with three of the ATO’s compliance programs extended and or expanded.

  • The Tax Avoidance Taskforce which was extended by the previous government at Budget in March has been extended for a further year to 2025-26 and the government has expanded the taskforce by $200m per year from 1 July 2022.

  • The Shadow Economy program has also been extended for three years to 2025-26 to continue the ATO’s response to target shadow economy activity, and the Personal Income Tax program, has been extended for two years with the Government also supporting a small increase in resources for that program.

In relation to the additional funding for the Tax Practitioners Board, the ATO will continue to work with and support the TPB in this program.

Further, the ATO noted that the Government will address fraud in the National Disability Insurance Scheme and broader government programs through the establishment of a new Fraud Fusion Taskforce. The Taskforce will be led by the National Disability Insurance Agency with support from other relevant agencies including the ATO.

Additional funding has been provided to the ATO to progress the next phase of the Modernising Business Registers program through to July 2023 and for ongoing sustainment funding for Director ID from 1 July 2023. 

Independent Review of the TPB

General remarks

GSF members noted that while it was pleasing to see five recommendations from the Independent Review of the TPB are being addressed in the exposure draft legislation released by Government, there remains a number of recommendations that are yet to be addressed.

GSF members noted that it is important that there is progress on the remaining recommendations, particularly as many of these recommendations were identified by the former Government as requiring additional consultation.

Recommendation 3.3(b) (Charter of Tax Practitioner Governance)

The Co-Chairs provided an update in relation to the work that has progressed in relation to Recommendation 3.3(b) in the Final Report of the Independent Review of the TPB. 

Recommendation 3.3(b) is as follows:

The creation of a Tax Practitioner Governance and Standards Forum and corresponding Charter of Tax Practitioner Governance.

The GSF was advised that development of a draft Charter is still in progress.

Recommendation 4.3 (More flexibility for determining relevant experience)

GSF members considered a draft discussion paper in respect of Recommendation 4.3 in the Final Report of the Independent Review of the TPB.

Recommendation 4.3 is as follows:

  1. The Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009 (TASR) being amended to give the TPB greater flexibility to accept different types and periods of experience as being relevant. This would allow the TPB to take into account individual circumstances such as maternity leave or other absences from the profession.

  2. As part of (a), The Treasury and the TPB, with input from key stakeholders, determine whether an amendment to the TASR is appropriate to amend the amount of relevant experience (and nature of experience) required to be registered as a BAS agent.

GSF members endorsed the draft paper, which may assist with Government’s potential future consultation in respect of Recommendation 4.3.

Recommendation 6.1 (Expanded sanctions for the TPB)

GSF members considered a draft discussion paper in respect of Recommendation 6.1 in the Final Report of the Independent Review of the TPB.

The Review recommends that the Board’s sanctions powers need to be increased, including introducing the following sanctions into the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA), which could be applied to registered and unregistered practitioners:

    • Infringement notices

    • Enforceable undertakings

    • Quality assurance audits

    • Interim suspensions

    • Permanent disbarment

    • External intervention

GSF members requested that the draft paper is amended and circulated out of session for final endorsement.  

In respect of implementing Recommendations from the Independent Review of the TPB, it was agreed that external GSF members would provide the TPB with a list of Recommendations that external members consider to be high priority, in addition to any new or emerging issues, evolving since the James Review, which are also worthy of review or reform. For example, cyber security preparedness and client authentication are key contemporary issues for practitioners.

GSF Work Program

The GSF noted the Work Program, and in particular, noted that the Australian Business Registry Service, and the implication for registered tax practitioners, continues to be a key concern for the profession and for the GSF if another registration burden is imposed.

TPB Corporate Plan

The TPB thanked GSF members for their consideration of the TPB’s discussion paper (circulated out-of-session) regarding the early development of the TPB’s Corporate Plan.

Concluding remarks

The GSF was thanked for its collaboration and engagement throughout the year. Further, the GSF extended its gratitude to the exceptional work and leadership demonstrated by GSF Co-Chair, Elinor Kasapidis.

It was agreed that the next GSF meeting will take place in the new year, likely to be in late February or early March.

Last modified: 4 January 2023