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IPA urges action on accountants’ exemption bid

The Institute of Public Accountants has called for the industry to rally for a return and extension of the accountants’ exemption, with the professional body set to lobby to the financial services minister next week.

Business Emma Ryan 19 September 2019
— 1 minute read

In a statement issued to members this week, IPA chief executive officer Andrew Conway encouraged accountants to participate in a poll, asking whether or not they support a new, extended accountant’s exemption.

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“As you know, the IPA has been leading the charge for a return and extension of the accountants’ exemption, which would operate as a limited financial advice model,” the CEO’s call to action said.

“We have never been in a better position to bring about this change, but we need your support to make it happen.”

Polling closes Monday, at which point Mr Conway will meet with Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology Jane Hume and present the views of IPA’s members and other interested accountants.

The poll comes after mixed reaction from Australia’s accounting bodies on the proposal to bring back the accountants’ exemption.

Similarly to the IPA, the Tax Institute has declared its support, saying reintroducing a limited form of the accountants’ exemption should be considered.

The Tax Institute believes a registered tax agent who does not have an AFSL should be allowed to structure arrangements to make a contribution, receive a pension or exit an SMSF including setting up and closing down the SMSF; recommend winding up of an SMSF in specific circumstances; commence an income stream and take a lump sum from an SMSF; make contributions to an SMSF; and advise on the application of the small business CGT concessions as they relate to making a contribution to an SMSF.

However, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and CPA Australia have chosen not to support the option.

“Tax is a key consideration for the majority of financial planning strategies. It is not incidental, it is material to the advice and recommendations,” their joint submission said.

“Further, the accountants’ exemption only permitted the recommendation to establish or wind up an interest in an SMSF. It was so limited that it did not even permit a recommendation to not establish an SMSF.

“Restoring such a limited exemption is not going to address the need to enable affordable, accessible and quality advice by trusted advisers.”

IPA urges action on accountants’ exemption bid
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