The TPB is currently considering to mandate a minimum 120 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) across three years for tax agents, BAS agents and tax (financial) advisers, starting from 1 July.
The increase in hours will impact BAS agents the most, with their minimum CPE requirements set to jump by 167 per cent from 45 hours to 120 hours.
CPA Australia has now urged the TPB to consider the significant burden being placed on BAS agents, warning of the potential scarcity of BAS-related CPE offerings and cost impacts of the proposed change.
“The proposed increase from 45 hours to 120 hours over three years is substantial and significantly above the annual threshold of 15 CPE hours required by BAS agent associations,” said CPA Australia in its submission to the TPB.
“With the TPB recognising the narrower scope of BAS services, consideration should be given to determining an appropriate level of CPE that is commensurate with the expanded range of BAS services, while recognising that these services remain a subset of tax agent services.
“The TPB may also wish to further assess the availability of BAS service-related CPE offerings and the potential cost impacts on BAS agents of the almost threefold increase in required CPE hours, particularly for sole or part-time practitioners.”
Other changes being put forward by the TPB include permanently enshrining a COVID-19 concession by allowing educative health and wellbeing activities to count towards a practitioner’s CPE hours, up to a maximum 10 per cent of the new 120-hour requirement.
The regulator notes that such activities could include attending webinars about how to manage stress and self-care, including in relation to the management of staff health and wellbeing.
With the consultation period now over, the TPB will look to finalise its policy position and apply changes from 1 July, with “necessary arrangements to ensure a smooth transition to the new CPE requirements” to be implemented.