FAQs: Regulation and registration of relevant providers who provide tax (financial) advice services

This information sheet (INFO 268) is for relevant providers who provide, or intend to provide, tax (financial) advice services.

Note: In this information sheet, we refer to these providers as 'individual tax (financial) advisers' (under the old regime), 'relevant providers' who 'provide tax (financial) advice services', or 'qualified tax relevant providers' (under the new regime).

A ‘relevant provider’ is an individual who is a financial service licensee, an authorised representative, employee or director of a financial service licensee (or a related body corporate of a financial service licensee) that is authorised to provide personal advice to retail clients in relation to relevant financial products.

In this information sheet we also refer to 'relevant providers' as 'financial advisers'.

From 1 January 2022, the regulatory landscape and registration process for relevant providers changes due to the commencement of the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response—Better Advice) Act 2021 (Better Advice Act).

This information sheet addresses some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the impact of the Better Advice Act, including:

  1. What was the regulatory landscape before the Better Advice Act for relevant providers who provided tax (financial) advice services?
  2. What does the Better Advice Act mean for relevant providers who provide tax (financial) advice services?
  3. What are tax (financial) advice services?
  4. If I am a relevant provider registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as an individual tax (financial) adviser, can I provide tax (financial) advice services from 1 January 2022?
  5. How does deemed registration work?
  6. How does ASIC registration work? What is the process for Stage 1 and how will Stage 2 work?
  7. What if I'm not registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as an individual tax (financial) adviser before 1 January 2022?
  8. If I am registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as a tax agent, will I be deemed registered?
  9. What if I complete the requisite training to become a qualified tax relevant provider after 1 January 2022?
  10. Do I need to complete education and training requirements to provide tax (financial) advice services?
  11. What information will ASIC's Financial Advisers Register display about a qualified tax relevant provider after 1 January 2022?

1. What was the regulatory landscape before the Better Advice Act for relevant providers who provided tax (financial) advice services?

Before 1 January 2022, relevant providers who provided tax (financial) advice services for a fee were required to be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as an individual tax (financial) adviser, a tax agent or authorised to provide tax (financial) advice services under a supervisory arrangement.

They were required to comply with the requirements of:

  • the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act), and
  • the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (Tax Agent Services Act).

Tax (financial) advisers must have met:

  • the education and training standards set for tax (financial) advisers in the Tax Agent Services Act, and
  • the education and training standards under the professional standards set by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) for relevant providers.

2. What does the Better Advice Act mean for relevant providers who provide tax (financial) advice services?

From 1 January 2022, if you are a financial adviser who provides, or intends to provide, tax (financial) advice services to retail clients for a fee, the following apply:

  • You must be a 'qualified tax relevant provider' under the Better Advice Act. This requires that you have met each of the applicable requirements set out in the Corporations (Relevant Providers—Education and Training Standards) Determination 2021 (Relevant Providers Determination).
  • You must be listed on the Financial Adviser Register as a relevant provider and registered with ASIC from 1 January 2023. You will no longer have to be registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as an individual tax (financial) adviser. The Tax Practitioners Board will not accept applications to be registered as an individual tax (financial) adviser after 31 December 2021.
  • You will primarily be regulated by ASIC under the Corporations Act (with the Financial Services and Credit Panel operating as the single disciplinary body for all financial advisers who provide personal advice to retail clients on relevant products).

For more information about the requirements that apply to qualified tax relevant providers under the Relevant Providers Determination, see Question 9 and Question 10.

3. What are tax (financial) advice services?

For the purposes of this information sheet, a tax (financial) advice service is a tax agent service (excluding representing a client to the Commissioner of Taxation) provided by an individual or entity in the course of advice usually given by them. For relevant providers that is, the provision of personal advice to retail clients on relevant products.

The service must relate to ascertaining or advising about obligations under taxation law and must be provided in circumstances where the client(s) can reasonably be expected to rely on the service for taxation purposes.

For more information about the meaning of 'tax (financial) advice services', including examples, see the Tax Practitioners Board Information Sheet TPB(I) 20/2014 What is a tax (financial) advice service?

4. If I am a relevant provider registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as an individual tax (financial) adviser, can I provide tax (financial) advice services from 1 January 2022?

Generally, from 1 January 2022, a relevant provider can legally provide tax (financial) advice services for a fee if they are a qualified tax relevant provider.

Qualified tax relevant providers are relevant providers who satisfy the education and training requirements of Division 3 of Part 3 of the Relevant Providers Determination. These include specified courses in commercial law and taxation law.

Generally, a relevant provider who is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as an individual tax (financial) adviser immediately before 1 January 2022 will effectively be 'deemed' to be a qualified tax relevant provider from 1 January 2022: see Question 5.

Importantly, relevant providers who have a pending application for registration with the Tax Practitioners Board submitted on or before 31 December 2021 are generally unable to give tax (financial) advice from 1 January 2022 until the date when the application is approved by the Tax Practitioners Board unless they have completed the prescribed courses set out in the Relevant Providers Determination: see Question 9 and Question 10.

5. How does deemed registration work?

Under the new regime, 'deemed registration' will occur as part of Stage 1 of the registration process. It applies to relevant providers who:

  • are registered as an individual tax (financial) adviser with the Tax Practitioners Board immediately before 1 January 2022, or
  • have a pending application for registration as an individual tax (financial) adviser with the Tax Practitioners Board which is approved after 1 January 2022.

For more information about Stage 1 of the ASIC registration process, see Question 6.

Deemed registration involves a one-off transfer of registration from the Tax Practitioners Board to ASIC's existing register of relevant providers—that is, the Financial Advisers Register. ASIC and the Tax Practitioners Board will share the information on their registers to complete this process.

Table 1 explains how deemed registration works depending on the situation.

Table 1: Deemed registration for individual (tax) financial advisers

Situation

How it works

You are a relevant provider registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as an individual tax (financial) adviser and your registration continues beyond 1 January 2022.

You will be 'deemed registered' with ASIC from 1 January 2022, unless your registration has been suspended. You will also be taken to be a qualified tax relevant provider from this date, unless your AFS licensee notifies ASIC otherwise.

You are an individual relevant provider who has applied to the Tax Practitioners Board for registration as an individual tax (financial) adviser, and immediately before 1 January 2022 your application has not been approved by the Tax Practitioners Board.

You will be 'deemed registered' with ASIC from the date your application is approved, unless your registration has been suspended. You will also be taken to be a qualified tax relevant provider from this date, unless your AFS licensee notifies ASIC otherwise.

Generally, you will be unable to provide tax (financial) advice services between 1 January 2022 and the date upon which your application for registration is approved by the Tax Practitioners Board.

No fee is payable for deemed registrations. However, it is important that Australian financial services (AFS) licensees ensure that all personal information held with ASIC and the Tax Practitioners Board (particularly an adviser's full name, ASIC representative number, and date of birth) is up-to-date and correct for deemed registration to occur. All personal information is handled in accordance with ASIC's Privacy Policy.

ASIC records can be viewed and updated through ASIC Connect. Tax Practitioners Board records can be viewed and updated through an individual's Tax Practitioners Board My Profile.

ASIC will provide a written notice to both the AFS licensee and the financial adviser confirming that the financial adviser has been registered with ASIC as soon as practicable following the date of registration (being 1 January 2022 for most deemed registered advisers). ASIC will issue these notifications in the first quarter of 2022.

If you are deemed registered, you will need to continue to meet your obligations under the Corporations Act as well as your other ongoing obligations, including your continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. Additional tax-specific CPD requirements apply from 1 January 2022 (as set by the Minister in the Relevant Providers Determination): see Question 10.

Generally, if deemed registered, you will not need to register again until Stage 2 of the registration process begins: see Question 6.

6. How does ASIC registration work? What is the process for Stage 1 and how will Stage 2 work?

Stage 1

For financial advisers who are not deemed to be registered, Stage 1 requires AFS licensees to lodge a one-off registration form through ASIC Connect to register their financial advisers as relevant providers. ASIC registration under Stage 1 will be available through ASIC Connect by no later than 1 October 2022.

Each application will cost $50 and must be completed before 1 January 2023. It will be an offence from 1 January 2023 to provide personal advice to retail clients on relevant products while unregistered.

For deemed registrations (see Question 5), relevant providers and their AFS licensees are not required to lodge Stage 1 registration documents with ASIC. AFS licensees are only required to ensure the information on the Financial Advisers Register about their advisers is accurate.

After being registered under Stage 1, a registration will generally remain in force until Stage 2 of the registration process begins. Examples of when registration will cease include where a registration prohibition or banning order is made against a relevant provider, or where a relevant provider's authorisation to provide personal advice to retail clients ceases to be in force (for example, if you become a representative of a different AFS licensee).

Stage 2

Stage 2 begins after ASIC's Financial Advisers Register is transferred to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) as part of the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS).

This will take place no later than four years after the day the Better Advice Act received Royal Assent (i.e. no later than 28 October 2025). From that time, registrations will be administered by the ATO as part of the ABRS.

Once the ABRS is operational, registrations will need to be renewed annually.

For more information and updates about the rollout of the ABRS, go to ASIC's website or the ATO's website.

7. What if I'm not registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as an individual tax (financial) adviser before 1 January 2022?

If you are a relevant provider and you are not registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as an individual tax (financial) adviser immediately before 1 January 2022, or your registration with the Tax Practitioners Board expires and is not renewed beyond 1 January 2022, your AFS licensee will need to separately apply to register you with ASIC under Stage 1.

As part of the ASIC registration process, your AFS licensee will need to declare, among other things, that you satisfy the education and training requirements set out in the Relevant Providers Determination: see Question 10.

Generally, if you do not satisfy these requirements (including under the transitional provisions), you cannot provide tax (financial) advice services as a relevant provider from 1 January 2022 for a fee.

As outlined in Question 6, ASIC registration under Stage 1 will be available through ASIC Connect by no later than 1 October 2022.

If you would like to have your status as a qualified tax relevant provider recorded on the Financial Advisers Register before ASIC registration under Stage 1 is available, your AFS licensee will be able to do this through ASIC Connect in early 2022. ASIC will provide more information about this process in the first quarter of 2022.

8. If I am registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as a tax agent, will I be deemed registered with ASIC?

No, if you are registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as a tax agent, you will not be deemed registered with ASIC under the Better Advice Act.

If you wish to be a relevant provider from 1 January 2022, you will need to register separately with ASIC under Stage 1: see Question 6.

Unlike individual tax (financial) advisers, from 1 January 2022, if you are a tax agent, you will still need to maintain your registration with the Tax Practitioners Board.

9. What if I complete the requisite training to become a qualified tax relevant provider after 1 January 2022?

Qualified tax relevant providers are relevant providers who satisfy the education and training requirements of Division 3 of Part 3 of the Relevant Providers Determination. These include specified courses in commercial law and taxation law.

If you are not a deemed registered financial adviser and have completed the education requirements set out in the Relevant Providers Determination, your AFS licensee must register you through ASIC Connect under Stage 1 of the registration process and declare that you are a qualified tax relevant provider: see Question 6.

If you would like to separately arrange to have your status as a qualified tax relevant provider recorded on the Financial Advisers Register before ASIC registration under Stage 1 is available, your AFS licensee will be able to do this through ASIC Connect in the first quarter of 2022. ASIC will provide more information about this process in early 2022.

For more information about what will be displayed on ASIC's Financial Advisers Register, see Question 11.

10. Do I need to complete education and training requirements to provide tax (financial) advice services?

Specified courses

The Relevant Providers Determination imposes education requirements on relevant providers who provide, or intend to provide, tax (financial) advice services.

Specifically, under this determination, financial advisers who provide tax (financial) advice services are required to complete commercial law and taxation law courses, unless one or more of the following transitional provisions apply:

  • From 1 January 2022, relevant providers who were registered as individual tax (financial) advisers with the Tax Practitioners Board immediately before 1 January 2022 are not required to complete commercial law and taxation law courses. These relevant providers are considered to have already met these requirements.
  • From the date the person's registration with the Tax Practitioners Board as an individual tax (financial) adviser comes into force, relevant providers who applied to be registered as an individual tax (financial) adviser on or before 31 December 2021 (and whose application is subsequently approved by the Tax Practitioners Board) are not required to complete commercial law and taxation law courses.
  • Between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2025, existing providers who are also relevant providers (immediately before 1 January 2022) have until either their exam cut-off date (if they have not passed the exam), or 31 December 2025 (if they have passed the exam) to complete the required commercial law and taxation law courses.

Relevant providers who have previously completed the prescribed commercial law and/or taxation law courses approved by the Tax Practitioners Board are not required to complete the courses again and they can provide tax (financial) advice services from 1 January 2022.

Otherwise, the requirements of the Relevant Providers Determination apply from 1 January 2022.

Additional CPD requirements

The Relevant Providers Determination also sets out additional continuing professional development requirements for relevant providers who provide tax (financial) advice services.

Under this determination, in addition to existing CPD requirements, relevant providers who provide tax (financial) advice services must also complete a minimum of five hours in the CPD area of technical competence (tax-specific). This is to be completed as part of the required forty hours total of CPD training.

11. What information will ASIC's Financial Advisers Register display about a qualified tax relevant provider after 1 January 2022?

In addition to information currently recorded on the Financial Advisers Register, the Financial Advisers Register will record your registration status and whether you can provide tax (financial) advice services.

During the transitional period, to ensure that the Financial Advisers Register accurately and fairly displays information to the public, the following will apply:

  • The 'Registration' field will be made available to the public from 1 January 2023, being the date on which it becomes a requirement that relevant providers be registered with ASIC.
  • The 'Can provide tax (financial) advice services' field will be made available to the public one month after the 'Appoint' and 'Maintain' functions on ASIC Connect have been updated to enable AFS licensees to record that financial advisers can provide tax (financial) advice services. These functions are expected to be available in the first quarter of2022.

ASIC will provide more information about the process for AFS licensees to update the Financial Adviser Register to record whether a financial adviser can provide tax (financial) advice services in early 2022.

Where can I get more information?

For more information about the single disciplinary body for financial advisers, go to:

For more information about the rollout of the ABRS, go to:

You can also call ASIC on 1300 300 630 or ask a question online.

Important notice

Please note that this information sheet is a summary giving you basic information about a particular topic. It does not cover the whole of the relevant law regarding that topic, and it is not a substitute for professional advice.

You should also note that because this information sheet avoids legal language wherever possible. It might include some generalisations about the application of the law. Some provisions of the law referred to have exceptions or important qualifications. In most cases your particular circumstances must be taken into account when determining how the law applies to you.

This is Information Sheet 268, issued in December 2021.

What's new

More financial service releases

ASIC industry funding

Last updated: 02/02/2022 11:59