Shining a light on your professional obligations

Against the backdrop of seismic changes from the Hayne Royal Commission and recent practitioner audits and investigations, Thomson Reuters recently brought the major regulators together at a live webinar to inform tax practitioners of their professional obligations. Watch now.

The Hayne Royal Commission’s laser focus on professional misconduct has spearheaded an offensive by the regulators to identify and outlaw incompliant behaviour in the finance sector.

350 practitioners have been investigated by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) for high-risk behaviour, and 1,365 reviewed to ensure they were meeting their CPE requirements, with further joint compliance work with the ATO netting over $36 million in practitioners’ outstanding tax bills.

New ATO compliance model

If you’re a tax agent, you’re being profiled. The ATO and the Tax Practitioners Board are learning more about you, your risk and behaviour, and that of your practice and of your clients.

These regulators are working to identify and target practitioners whose behaviour poses the highest risk. Using cutting-edge technology, the agencies are sharing and analysing their data to inform their change in approach, based on the level of risk they see in practitioners’ behaviour.

So, it’s no longer a question of whether you’re being profiled but which behavioural bucket you fall into.

The Intermediary Engagement Model is a new approach from the ATO on how they view intermediaries, initially being applied to tax agents, before applying it more broadly to other intermediary groups.

Adam Kendrick, ATO Assistant Commissioner, describes the Model as “tailored intervention”, as he guides viewers through this new approach in the compliance webinar (now available on demand), In the dark about your professional obligations? Our experts can shine a light before the panic sets in.

With four behaviour identities ranging from Threat to Best Practice, those intermediaries falling into the latter group, who are “the exemplars in the profession”, are described as:

  • having strong internal controls and practices
  • harnessing technology
  • applying client selection policies
  • taking reasonable care to correctly establish the clients’ position and
  • keeping skills and knowledge up to date and aligned to their client base.

As a reward, these intermediaries will be “supported to continue to display high professional standards on their practice and can generally expect a low-touch/self-initiated approach”.

For those at the other end of the spectrum, showing behaviours of Threat (eg illegal activity, providing services while unregistered), the ATO, the TPB and other agencies will show no tolerance, taking an approach that will “severely restrict their ability to operate immediately and later remove their influence from the system”.

The ongoing risk of bans, prosecutions and random audits by regulators are a constant reminder of the consequences of compliance breaches and serious misconduct.

So, are you ready if you had a compliance breach tomorrow? Only 18.4% of the webinar audience voted yes. More than 80% voted no or not sure.

Watch the webinar now and learn from:

  • Adam Kendrick, ATO Assistant Commissioner, Intermediary Engagement and Assurance;
  • Michael O’Neill, CEO of the Tax Practitioners Board
  • Drew Fenton, Managing Director, Fenton Green from the CPA
  • Rizwan Zaidi, Territory Lead – Thomson Reuters

The webinar was moderated by Nathan Lynch, Thomson Reuters’ Asia-Pacific Manager of Regulatory Intelligence.

Watch our compliance webinar

How secure is your data against targeted cyber-attacks and compliance breaches? Know your obligations

While you earn CPD points, find out direct from the regulators about:

  • data protection, privacy and cyber security obligations
  • penalties for compliance breaches
  • case studies
  • how to protect your practice.

Virginia Ginnane is a lawyer and writer, with more than 20 years’ experience working for international publishers in the UK, US and Australia. Her articles have appeared in The Lawyer, Legal Week, Legal Business, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald and Hello! magazine among many other publications. She was London correspondent for Time Inc’s Who Weekly and Life magazine, and also feature writer at Australian Associated Press. Her book Polly Borland Australians was published by the National Portrait Gallery in London. Virginia has worked at Thomson Reuters as Commissioning Editor, Tax Writer, Marketing Content Specialist and is currently Content Manager.

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