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Confusion lingers around tax advice, AFSLs

Tony Negline

Tony Negline has called for further clarity around limited licenses and tax advice.

Accountants are calling for certainty on the interplay between the Corporations Act tax agents’ exemption, limited Australian financial services licences (AFSL) and full AFSLs, according to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand superannuation leader Tony Negline.

Speaking at the SMSF Association National Conference 2018 in Sydney today, Negline said there was a tax exemption within the Corporations Act for those who provided tax advice and were regulated by the Tax Practitioners Board.

“So we have this interplay between: ‘What can I do as a tax agent, when do I need a licence and what sort of licence do I need?’ And we need the regulators to hopefully in time give us very good guidance,” he said.

Under the Corporations Act, a person can provide tax advice, including on the tax implications of financial products, without a licence. If the tax advice on financial products was to a retail client, this exemption would only be applicable if it was accompanied by a letter that stated the person providing the tax advice was not licensed under the act.

However, limited AFSL holders are not covered by this exemption and they cannot issue this written statement stating they are not licensed.

“Most of you just want to know ‘tell me what I’ve got to do, and when I’ve got to do it and how I’ve got to do it so that I don’t have any aggravation in my life’,” Negline said.

“Hopefully we will get that guidance in the not-to-distant future about how the taxation exemption fits into all of these things and in the end you might stray into needing a licence and what sort you might actually need.”

ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell yesterday told delegates the regulator had issued around 830 limited licences following the scrapping of the accountants’ exemption.

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