Replacement of the “accountants’ exemption” – the limited licence regime


This article featured in Volume 48(7) of "Taxation in Australia", a journal published by the Tax Institute of Australia.

By Fiona Halsey, FTI, Director, and Mark Halsey, Principal, Halsey Legal Services

Abstract:  The so-called “accountants’ exemption”, by which “recognised accountants” have been exempt from the requirement either to hold an Australian financial services licence (AFSL) or to be an authorised representative of a licence holder when providing advice relating to the acquisition or disposal of interests in self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs), is to be withdrawn with effect from 1 July 2016.  In order to continue to provide advice in respect of SMSFs after 1 July 2016, accountants will need to be licensed.  Accountants will have three options:  to operate under the new limited financial services licence, which is available from 1 July 2013;  to operate under a full AFSL;  or to cease to provide SMSF advice to clients.  This article considers the scope of the new limited licence, and discusses practical considerations relating to a licensee’s back office under the new licensing regime, including audit obligations, consumer dispute resolution and training requirements.

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