The FASEA mismatch that could quadruple adviser CPD hours

Alex Burke,  Senior Writer,  No More Practice Education

The Tax Practitioners Board's review of its continuing professional education (CPE) policy has attracted some consternation within the advice community.

As per a submission from the FPA, consultation with multiple tax (financial) advisers has yielded feedback that the TPB's draft policy is confusing, creates unnecessary additional work for advisers and doesn't align with existing timeframes for other CPD requirements.

The root of the problem appears to be that the draft policy doesn't unconditionally accept the CPD completed for FASEA purposes as meeting the TPB's requirements, despite the fact that, as the FPA notes, "the TPB [has] mirrored many of the FASEA requirements in the proposed amendments to its CPE policy."

What this could mean in practice is that tax (financial) advisers would be required to complete an additional 120 hours of CPE on top of the 40 hours stipulated under FASEA.

The submission also notes that practitioners are confused regarding what tax (financial) advice services aren't also personal financial advice services under the Corporations Act and, as a result, what topics in the TPB's CPE policy aren't mirrored in FASEA's CPD requirements.

The submission continues: "The FPA has continued to request Treasury and the TPB provide clear examples of TFA services that fall outside the definition of personal financial advice since the proposed application of the Tax Agent Services Act to financial planners in 2008.

"Clear examples of services and circumstances in which a financial planner would be providing a tax (financial) advice service, but not personal financial advice, would help the profession identify the gaps in the CPE undertaken for FASEA purposes."

Without further clarification, the FPA argues, the TPB's proposed policy will create "additional red tape for financial planners that will provide no extra benefit for consumers. Rather, it will drive up the cost of financial advice for Australians."


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