Following the initial round of consultation into the independent review of the Tax Practitioners Board, independent review chair Keith James has now released a discussion paper highlighting the key considerations that will be taken into account by the review.
One of the consultation points within the discussion paper raises the question of whether the primary educational qualification for a BAS agent should be increased to a diploma-level qualification.
BAS agents currently require at least a Certificate IV in Financial Services in bookkeeping or accounting.
The discussion paper notes the view of the TPB which suggests that amendments to the current registration framework would be appropriate to bring closer alignment with existing government approaches to lift standards and ensuring consistency across different professions.
“For example, new education standards apply to new and existing financial advisers to have an approved bachelor’s degree qualification — the question that should be considered is whether there should be a similar lifting of educational requirements for tax and BAS agents,” the discussion paper said.
In addition to the registration requirements, the paper is also considering whether the current three-year period of registration should be converted to an annual registration.
“There is no discernible policy basis for this three-year period, and the TPB suggests that in the interests of the tax practitioners, the TPB and government, it would be beneficial if the registration period was converted to an annual basis,” the discussion paper noted.
“This approach would align with most other requirements affecting tax practitioners, including professional indemnity insurance and association membership. This annual registration would replace the current TPB administrative ‘Annual Declaration’ process.”
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