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IPA urges Labor to come clean about accounting fees

The IPA has said that Labor is spreading misinformation when it comes to the fees charged by accountants for providing tax advice, ramping up its argument that the Labor Party has no justification for targeting accountants.

IPA urges Labor to come clean about accounting fees
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • May 10, 2019
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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 Andrew Conway.  

In addition, Mr Conway judged, 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,” Mr Conway warned.

He added that 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,” said Mr Conway.

“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.”

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