It is 12 months since the big reveal from the Tax Practitioners’ Board about the disciplinary action taken against PwC and former partner Peter Collins for a failure to keep mum about certain things that were subject to a confidentiality agreement.

It was announced by the TPB on 23 January 2023 that Collins has been deregistered as a tax agent for the integrity breaches with a 2-year ban on becoming a registered tax practitioner. Last October, he was banned from providing financial services for eight years by ASIC.

The facts of that case have been publicly aired more often that some people have hot breakfasts over the past year with PwC’s indiscretion clearly being used as a backdrop for policy changes that in some cases should have occurred under the previous Coalition government.

Consider a document the federal government put out for consultation last year boosting the number and severity of sanctions late last year designed to make the TPB more powerful and give it greater flexibility when it comes to handing out penalties.

That document is tagged as a response to the PwC case study when in fact much of the material sitting in that consultation paper – for which the submission deadline closed two days ago – is drawn from the James Review of the Tax Practitioners’ Board’s function.

How on earth can a document drawn from a review that has been sitting on somebody’s shelf since 2019 that found the TPB’s functions needed an upgrade be legitimately characterised as a response to the PwC case study?

Let’s be clear about one thing. There is nothing wrong with the proposals to increase sanctions and those ideas should progress to legislation as quickly as possible so the TPB can deal with poorly behaved financial advisers, tax agents and other professionals over which it has control.

The marketing of the proposal as a part of measures responding to the PwC case study is intellectually dishonest when in fact it is Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones doing precisely what should have happened with the results of the James Review when it was completed under the previous Coalition government.

There is also the need for the federal government to be mindful of the fact that it needs to respond in a proportionate fashion in regulatory reform and not make changes that look like it is engaged in acts of collective punishment because of a case study that could so easily never have made it to the TPB.

Readers of Professional Planner will know about the new dob-in-a-fellow-practitioner provisions that were passed by parliament last year and some practitioners have told this masthead they feel they are being unjustly targeted.

The law now requires people to dob folks in for significant breaches when they come to their attention, but more guidance is required so people understand what those terms in the legislation mean.

Then there is the amendment to the Code of Professional Conduct in the tax agent laws that has proposed amendments that are in many respects dealt with in principle any way in the original law as passed in 2009.

PwC and Collins were caught by the provisions as they currently exist once the TPB got its hands on relevant material from the firm.

Why does the rest of the professional world in financial services have to cop more red tape and regulation simply because people are eager to demonstrate activity in the midst of outrage about a specific example that has dominated a community focus?