The SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) has described the federal government’s recent decision to limit the tax deductibility of self-education expenses to $2000 as “short-sighted and self-defeating”.
Specifically, the professional body said it felt the initiative would not aid the government’s declared objective of improving professionalism in the financial services industry as seen through moves like the Future of Financial Advice legislation.
In particular, SPAA said the new parameter had shown a total lack of understanding of the costs practitioners bear in their efforts to maintain professional standards.
“By our reckoning, a SPAA specialist would spend more than $6000 a year attending conferences and participating in courses and webinars just to stay abreast of developments in their professions, and that’s taking a conservative view of what courses and conferences they attend,” SPAA technical and policy senior manager Jordan George said.
“What has to be remembered is that gaining a qualification doesn’t end the education process; a changing world means members have to continually improve their skills.
“All our feedback from our members, of whom 50 per cent attend the national conference, is that they enormously value the technical content of what SPAA offers, believing it’s integral to their professional development. And it’s the clients who lose when our members face barriers to improving their professional skills.”
According to George, the size of the SMSF industry, boasting close to $500 billion in assets under management, dictated that it needed the highest quality professional advice, making the new self-education rule even more difficult to understand.