Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand has written to Treasury in light of the TPB’s review, calling for the board to review the suitability of the educational requirements of the Tax Agent Services Regulations 2009.
It has taken an issue with the TPB’s academic requirements to register as a tax agent, namely the requirement to complete a course in commercial law approved by the board, involving three board-approved core units.
“The modern commercial law component in university accounting degrees now and at the time of introduction of the TASA was two subjects, not three subjects, and as such the board’s view is an uplift in the commercial law requirements, as the bar has been lifted above even the CA program requirement,” CA ANZ said.
“CA ANZ has assessed the key ‘learning outcomes’ for commercial law (specified by the International Federation of Accounting education standards) as being met in the undergraduate law subjects that are currently contained in all of the Accredited Tertiary Courses for entry into the CA program.
“The TPB’s views mean that CAs, who have met the educational requirements to have a Certificate of Public Practice (CPP) issued to them by our professional accounting body to provide tax services to the public, are not treated as eligible to register.”
The professional association also believes the scope of the education requirement to register as a BAS agent is too narrow and is “insulting” to the CA designation.
It believes the TPB’s interpretation of a basic GST/BAS taxation principles’ course is inflexible and only considers one education approach.
“For the basic GST/BAS course, arguably, the TPB’s interpretation completely ignores the word ‘basic’ and requires a very specific, granular, detailed course on GST and BAS completion and form filling,” CA ANZ said.
“CA ANZ adopts the top-down approach… Therefore, a TPB view that is singularly focused and insistent upon the bottom-up technique is necessarily discriminatory against those whose educational philosophy and approach involves the top-down deductive technique.
“The outcome that CAs do not meet the course in basic GST/BAS taxation principles requirement is insulting to our members, the CA designation, and our organisation, and an unacceptable proposition.”
TPB review timeline
The TPB review was announced in March by then assistant treasurer Stuart Robert, with submissions now closed. A discussion paper is set to be issued in June once submissions are considered, before recommendations are made to the government by 31 October 2019.