As a financial planner or adviser, or a corporate authorised representative providing a tax (financial) advice service for a fee or reward, you are required to be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) in order to provide this service legally.
This registration requirement is in addition to the need to be licensed or authorised with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
The need to be registered was introduced in July 2014. In the early stages of this requirement, it was simple to become registered and most Australian financial services licensees (AFSLs) registered their authorised representatives on their behalf.
We are now approaching the renewal of these registrations and you need to know what is required to ensure that you can legally continue to provide the tax financial advice that your clients need.
The TPB is the regulator for individuals and entities that provide tax (financial) advice services as part of their financial advice and planning. The TPB does this by registering and regulating tax (financial) advisers and enforcing the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA), which includes a legislated Code of Professional Conduct.
The TPB aims to protect consumers by ensuring registered tax practitioners, including tax (financial) advisers, meet standards of professional and ethical conduct, including administering the code and applying sanctions where appropriate.
To be prepared to either renew or register with the TPB, you must be able to answer some simple questions to ensure that you and your business are operating legally:

Are you registered with the TPB?

If the answer is no, do you or your business
provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee
or other reward? If so, there are two options ways to become registered with the TPB: transitional and standard.
You may decide that transitional registration (available only until June 30, 2017) is the best choice for your new registration. This option provides you extra time to obtain the required qualifications and experience you might need under the standard option, or for your business to meet the sufficient number requirement.
In order to register under the transitional option, you must have sufficient experience to provide tax (financial) advice services to a competent standard. Sufficient experience is generally the equivalent
of 18 months’ full-time experience.
To register under the standard option, there are four pathways you can choose from. These are detailed on our website, www.tpb.gov.au.
The registrations requirements are much simpler to complete if you have been practising and gaining relevant experience for six of the last eight years and are a member of a recognised tax agent association or a voting member of a recognised tax (financial) adviser association as follows:

  • Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA)
  • SMSF Association
  • Association of Financial Advisers (AFA)
  • Institute of Public Accountants (IPA)
  • Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association Limited

Have a look on our website to see where you or your business fit.
If your answer to the question, ‘Are you registered with the TPB?’ is yes, you will need to know when your registration is due for renewal. Check the TPB register for your renewal date by going to the website and selecting ‘search register’ to find your details.
Between now and January 2018, the TPB will process up to 19,000 AFS licensee, corporate authorised representative and authorised representative renewal applications.
An invitation to renew your registration will be sent about 60 days before your registration expires. We will use the contact details that we have on record for you. Your contact details must be up to date with both ASIC and the TPB. You can go to our website to update your details with the TPB, ensuring that you receive your renewal notification.
While all renewal applications must be lodged at least 30 days before the registration expiry date, you can renew your registration at any time before that.
Once your renewal application is lodged, you will remain registered and able to provide tax (financial) advice until such time as the TPB makes a decision to approve or reject your application.
Renewing early ensures that you can continue to provide the tax (financial) advice service to your clients for a fee.
Once you have had your renewal approved, you are eligible to use the TPB’s tax (financial) adviser symbol. This symbol will be personalised with your registration number and can be used in all your marketing.
AFS licensees and corporate authorised representatives need to be aware that if they rely on other representatives (including employee representatives) to meet the sufficient number requirement, these representatives need to be registered themselves, before you can renew.
If they have not yet been registered with the TPB, they can use the transitional option that I referred to earlier until June 30 this year or they can apply under the standard registration option.

What next?

As you consider how and when you are going to either register or renew with the TPB, I suggest you speak to your AFS licensees as a first step to find out how they can assist you with this process.
I encourage you to be aware of your obligations to gain or maintain your registration. You must:

  • Comply with the Code of Professional Conduct
  • Notify us when your registration details or circumstances change
  • Maintain professional indemnity insurance
    that meets our requirements (this includes cover for tax advice)
  • Undertake continuing professional education
    that meets our requirements
  • Renew your registration on time (submit one month prior to the expiry date).
  • Be aware that if you fail to renew your registration or your corporate authorised representatives’ registration or are not registered with the TPB, you cannot continue to provide tax (financial) advice service for a fee or other reward.

For more details, please go to the TPB website or send us an email at [email protected]

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Ian Taylor is chair of the Tax Practitioners Board.