As every registered tax practitioner knows, retaining such registration (and therefore maintaining your ability to charge clients for your services) requires adherence to several conditions set out by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).
Registered tax practitioners includes tax agents, BAS agents, and now tax (financial) advisers. All must comply with the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA), including the Code of Professional Conduct (the code) and the civil penalties provisions.
After long and extensive consultation, the TPB has now released of a new TPB information sheet on the obligations regarding confidentiality of client information under the code (download it here).
This information sheet has been developed to assist registered tax (financial) advisers in understanding their confidentiality obligations under the code (Item 6). This provides that, unless there is a legal duty to do so, tax (financial) advisers must not disclose any information relating to a client’s affairs to a third party without the client’s permission. A number of potential options might be used to obtain the necessary client permission, which are spelled out in the information sheet.
Chair of the TPB, Ian Taylor, says: “We were keen to ensure that our key stakeholders had an opportunity to contribute to the development of this new information sheet.” Taylor says that consultation was conducted with financial planning associations through the TPB Financial Adviser Forum, as well as government agencies including ASIC.
Public submissions on the original exposure draft closed more than a year ago (February 2016) and since then the TPB has undertaken further rounds of consultations to further refine the information sheet.
“The result of our extensive consultation process is practical guidance to assist tax (financial) advisers to understand how to comply with their confidentiality obligations under the code,” Taylor says. ”I encourage all registered tax (financial) advisers to read the new information sheet and familiarise themselves with its contents.”