The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers has hit back at the TPB’s proposal to raise continuing professional education (CPE) hours for tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers to 120 hours across three years, starting from 1 July.
The increase in hours will impact BAS agents the most, with their minimum CPE requirements set to jump by more than two-and-a-half times from 45 hours to 120 hours.
The ICB believes forcing BAS agents to complete the same amount of hours as a tax agent is “inequitable and wrong”, noting that a BAS agent’s scope of services is substantially narrower than those of a tax agent.
“We believe that there will be an exit of very competent BAS agents from the regime if the requirement is increased to 120 hours over three years. This would become a major barrier to entry and continuation of registration,” said the ICB in its submission to the regulator.
“A BAS agent who has a reduced breadth (subset) of tax services should not be required to have the same extent of CPE as a full-service tax agent. A registered tax agent has substantially more areas of tax to consider in order to be considered current and competent.
“To require equal hours for the BAS agent community who are restricted from advising on income tax, FBT, CGT etc is not fair nor logical.”
The ICB has instead called for BAS agent CPE hours to be no more than 60 per cent of those required of tax agents.
It has also requested for an appropriate reduction in CPE requirement for part-time agents.
The ICB’s pushback comes after CPA Australia expressed similar concerns over the substantial increase to BAS agent CPE requirements.
The professional accounting body has urged the TPB to assess the availability of BAS service-related CPE offerings and to consider the potential cost burden on sole and part-time practitioners.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.