CPA Australia has called on the government to extend an exemption for accountants in line with that granted to financial advisers yesterday.
The decision, announced by Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury, extends financial advisers' current exemption from the taxation agent services regime by 12 months beyond its current expiry on June 30, 2012.
"Our view is if it isn't ready to go yet, it shouldn't start," said Paul Drum, head of business and investment policy for CPA Australia.
"Equally, our discussions with the government have been that the accountants' exemption is in the same position and in many ways Bradbury's announcement yesterday should go hand in hand with the deferral of the accountants' exemption to allow it to be properly developed too."
Currently accountants are allowed to advise on the creation of self-managed super funds and are exempt from requiring an Australian Financial Services Licence if they stay within those limits.
"The losers are the consumers in that the tax advice protections aren't there for a bit longer, but we are not an advocate for having a start date arrive with people expected to comply when the system is not ready to go," said Drum.
"But we have waited the best part of 10 years to get this right - and you don't want to compromise it now by running to some unrealistic, artificial deadline where there is no absolute imperative."
The decision to grant an extension to financial advisers followed consultation with representatives from the financial planning, tax and accounting bodies, the Tax Practitioners Board and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
"This will allow for the details of the regulatory model to be settled and ensure resolution of implementation issues associated with bringing financial advice under the scope of the tax agent services regime," said Bradbury.
"The new regulatory arrangements will focus on the principles of consumer protection and the delivery of quality taxation advice by financial advisers who offer this as part of their financial product advice services."
The Financial Planning Association has welcomed the move as necessary to proper transition.
"We believe this extension is a sensible approach that will allow for the government to have all details in place before financial planners are expected to transition to the tax agent services regime," said Dante DeGori, general manager policy and government relations.