ASIC updates tax, BAS agents guidance

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has updated its guidance for accountants who provide SMSF services to cover the exemption from Australian financial services licence (AFSL) requirements for tax and business activity statement (BAS) agents.

The guidance was developed in conjunction with the Tax Practitioners Board and is being released as part of updates to “Information Sheet 216: AFS licensing requirements for accountants who provide SMSF services” (INFO 216).

It sets out some basic principles that tax and BAS agents can apply to understand whether their advice falls within the licensing exemption and provides examples to illustrate how the exemption works.

The guidance also explains the relationship between this exemption, section 766B(5)(c) of the Corporations Act and the exemption for providing tax advice on financial products in regulation 7.1.29(4) of the Corporations Regulations.

In addition, ASIC has made amendments to INFO 216 to further clarify what accountants can do when referring a client to an AFSL holder or representative for financial advice.

Under section 766B(5)(c) of the Corporations Act, a registered tax agent or BAS agent can provide advice that is given in the ordinary course of their activities and is reasonably regarded as a necessary part of those activities.

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