10 May 2019

There has been significant misinformation when it comes to accountants’ fees for providing tax advice, according to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

“The figures used are based on a very small sample.  These in themselves do not justify a policy of capping deductions for tax advice,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“In addition, if the numbers being bandied around are using aggregated data, they will result in grossly overstated averages for adviser fees for this sample size.

“The ATO data that has been used related to the 2016-17 financial year.  The label in the income tax return that makes up these figures includes adviser fees, ATO interest charges and litigation costs.

“From 2018 onwards, we will have a proper breakup of the three components.

“If aggregated figures are being used, then this is misleading the public.

“It is also misinformation to say that only the rich can access tax deductions; these are accessible by all Australians.

“There are already substantial penalties for advisers doing the wrong thing.

“It is highly inappropriate to have a universal cap for all taxpayers as circumstances differ; a one-size-fits-all is inequitable.

“Our tax system is complex.  Denying deductibility for seeking advice from a trusted adviser is inappropriate,” said Mr Conway.