From 1 July 2014, financial advisers who provide tax advice are required to register with the Tax Practitioners Board (“TPB”) under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (Cth) (“TASA”).

These changes were introduced in June 2013 as part of the Tax Laws Amendment (2013 Measures No. 3) Act 2013 (Cth), which amended the TASA by introducing a regulatory regime for individuals and entities who provide tax advice in the course of providing advice usually provided by Australia Financial Services ("AFS") license holders (“tax (financial) advisers”).

Under the regime, ASIC will remain responsible for the independent regulation of the AFS licensing regime and financial advisers will continue to be licensed under, and subject to the obligations of, the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).  However, tax (financial) advisers will now need to comply with the additional requirements of the TPB’s Tax Agent Services Regime, which is said to supplement their existing competencies.

Tax (financial) advisers have until 31 December 2015 to register with the TPB. Those who do not register within this transition period must provide a disclaimer when providing tax (financial) advice services, advising clients that they are not a registered tax (financial) adviser.  This disclaimer is only effective until 31 December 2015, after which unregistered entities who continue to provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee or reward may be liable for civil penalties.

From 1 July 2017, financial planners seeking registration as tax (financial) advisers will be required to meet substantive ongoing education and experience requirements.  Likewise, those who were registered with the TPB throughout the transition period will be required to meet the standard eligibility requirements.

The qualification and experience requirements for tax (financial) advisers are under consideration.  On 25 June 2014, Treasury released an Exposure Draft of the Tax Agent Services Amendment (Tax (Financial) Advisers) Regulation 2014 (“Regulations”), which prescribe a set of ongoing registration, qualification and experience requirements for tax (financial) advisers, tailored to reflect the nature of the services offered compared to those offered by registered tax agents.

For more information on registering with the TPB, click here.

To view the draft Regulations, click here.