A straw poll run by sister publication SMSF Adviser with 805 respondents has shown that most SMSF professionals would support a move by the government to bring back the accountants’ exemption, either in full or with a more limited scope.
The exemption, which was removed in 2016 as part of the FOFA reforms, allowed accountants to provide basic SMSF services without having to operate in the AFSL environment.
Out of the total respondents, 419 or 52 per cent supported reinstating the accountants’ exemption in full. A further 202 respondents or 25 per cent also supported bringing the exemption back, but with a more limited scope.
Less than a quarter opposed reinstating the exemption, with 184 or 23 per cent stating that it should not be brought back.
Lobby efforts for restoring the accountants’ exemption have ramped up in the past six months, with groups such as the Institute of Public Accountants and BGL stating that the current licensing regime has failed to meet expectations and reduced the accessibility of advice.
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand has also urged the government to consider reducing some of the restrictions imposed on accountants under the current licensing regime.
IPA chief executive Andrew Conway said that there is appetite from the government to consider reforms to licensing arrangements, particularly in light of the incoming education requirements.
“We have presented to them the facts that people are simply not getting the advice they were once able to get, and rather than opting out of advice from an accountant or a financial planner, they are simply opting out of advice,” Mr Conway said.