All Australian financial services (AFS) licensees and their representatives that provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee or other reward must be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). If you advise your clients about the tax consequences of the financial advice you provide, you are providing a tax (financial) advice service.
- an authorised representative of the licensee, which may be:
- an individual
- a body corporate (also known as corporate authorised representative (CAR))
- a partnership
- a group of individuals and/or bodies corporate that are the trustees of a trust
- an employee or director of the licensee
- an employee or director of a related body corporate of the licensee
- any other person acting on behalf of the licensee.
If your corporate authorised representative (CAR) provides a tax (financial) advice service for fee or reward, part or all of which is payable via a third party, your CAR will also need to be registered. Whether a CAR provides a tax (financial) advice service will depend on the nature of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) authorisations that the CAR has.
In most cases a CAR is considered to provide tax (financial) advice services if they have an ASIC authorisation to provide financial product advice or to deal with a financial product.
What is a tax (financial) advice service?
In most cases, if you advise your clients about the tax consequences of the financial advice you provide, you are providing a tax (financial) advice service.
A tax (financial) advice service consists of five key elements:
- a tax agent service (excluding representations to the Commissioner of Taxation)
- provided by an AFS licensee or representative (including individuals and corporates) of an AFS licensee
- provided in the course of advice usually given by an AFS licensee or representative
- relates to ascertaining or advising about liabilities, obligations or entitlements that arise, or could arise, under a taxation law
- reasonably expected to be relied upon by the client for tax purposes.
For further information and examples of services visit Tax (financial) advice services
There are limited situations where you do not need to register as a tax (financial) adviser. These include if you are:
- registered as a tax agent (with no conditions or have a financial planning condition imposed on your registration). This is because your existing tax agent registration already includes the provision of tax (financial) advice services.
- an employee or contractor of a registered tax agent or tax (financial) adviser and you do not provide tax (financial) advice services in your own right. However, if you are working for a registered company or partnership tax (financial) adviser, the company or partnership might need you (as an individual) to be registered so that it has a sufficient number of registered individual tax (financial) advisers.
- a legal practitioner and are not prohibited from providing tax (financial) advice services as a legal service under a state or territory law that regulates legal practice and the provision of legal services.
Penalties for unregistered conduct
The civil penalty provisions in the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 prohibit certain conduct of tax (financial) advisers while unregistered. The Federal Court can impose severe penalties for breach of these civil penalty provisions. These are summarised in the table below.
|Conduct prohibited without tax (financial) adviser or tax agent registration||Penalties|
|Providing tax (financial) advice services for a fee or reward||
|Advertising tax (financial) advice services||
|Representing as a registered tax (financial) adviser||
For further information refer Civil penalty provisions for tax (financial) advisers
To check if a tax (financial) adviser is registered:
Registration ensures that tax (financial) advisers:
- have the qualifications and experience required to provide tax (financial) advice services
- meet our fit and proper requirements
- have appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover to protect consumers.
Last modified: 10 March 2020