IPA chief executive officer Andrew Conway said Australia must follow the lead of other progressive industrialised nations such as the USA and the UK and extend legal privilege to tax advice.
“Consumers seeking independent and objective taxation advice must have access to legal protections and safeguards, whether they seek that advice from a lawyer or an accountant,” he said.
“Extending legal privilege would enable honest and open conversations between tax payers and their tax agents,” added Mr Conway.
In 2007, the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended the establishment of tax advice privilege to protect advice given by independent professional accounting advisors. In April 2011, the government issued a paper entitled Privilege in relation to tax advice but has so far failed to make any recommendations.
“Seven years of inaction since the Law Reform Commission’s recommendation is quite unsatisfactory,” said Mr Conway. “The IPA recommends a model to extend legal privilege to registered tax agents who are members of professional accounting associations.
“These members are qualified accountants who have undertaken further studies, hold a practising certificate and are held to higher professional and ethical standards than non-members,” he said.
Are you thinking of expanding your offering into SMSFs to grow your client base? Become a pro at SMSF fundamentals and make your clients bulletproof with the SMSF Foundations course. Learn directly from Aaron Dunn from Smarter SMSF as he deep-dives into the fundamentals you need to know to successfully undertake your work as an SMSF practitioner. Earn up to 21 CPD hours! Learn more