IPA claims dodgy data underpins ALP’s tax advice changes

10 May 2019

The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has ramped up its argument that the Australian Labor Party has no justification for attacking the fees charged by accountants for providing tax advice.

In a statement issued today, the IPA chief executive, Andrew Conway, said there had been significant misinformation when it comes to accountants’ fees for providing tax advice.

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

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Conway said that the ATO data that had been used was related to the 2016-17 financial year and that the label in the income tax return that made up the figures included adviser fees, ATO interest charges and litigation costs.

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

Conway said that there were already substantial penalties for advisers doing the wrong thing and that it was highly inappropriate to have a universal cap for all taxpayers as circumstances differed and a one-size-fits-all was inequitable.

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

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