When Does Tax Advice Become Legal Advice Which Contravenes State or Territory Law

For accountants and lawyers practising in tax, it can be difficult to stay across the range of different laws that apply in each State and Territory.

Every tax practitioners and tax agents should be aware of their obligations and what they can and cannot do in relation to providing advice. This ‘blind spot’ is partly because Federal law permits registered tax agents and BAS agents to do various things, and this law (if constitutional) overrides State and Territory laws. 

In his upcoming session, 'When Does Tax Advice Become Legal Advice Which Contravenes State or Territory Law' at the upcoming 2019 National Convention, John Morgan, CTA will examine this overlooked area and the consequences of getting it wrong.

Ranging from return of fees to criminal prosecution, they can put your professional accreditation at risk, and will be more than theoretical if they threaten the business model of affected practices.

We spoke to John about what to expect from his session. 

John said, “Delegates can expect to learn about the law on unqualified ‘legal practice’ as well as the basis and scope of the exemption for registered tax agents. I will also provide examples of the practical implications of these two forces interacting”.


His session will also provide tips on how practitioners can ensure they stay within their legal obligations when providing advice. He will focus on how to source reliable legal documents for clients, what not to advise on, how to minimise negligence risk, how not to put your professional registration at risk, how to ensure you remain insured, in what you do and how to avoid prosecution and repaying your fees to clients.

John Morgan, CTA, has been a member of The Tax Institute for 30 years and has practiced primarily in revenue and superannuation law since coming to the Victorian Bar in 2004. He also taught tax at Monash University. John served on the Tax Law Improvement Project in 1998, which was charged with re-writing the income tax law into the new Act in Plain English. And, in 2008, the then Assistant Treasurer appointed John to serve as a private sector representative on the Tax Design Review Panel, charged with finding a better process for designing and implementing tax. 

In his spare time, John also manages and writes for a website called ‘Tax Technical’. He also enjoys spending time with this family, cycling, sailing, playing hockey and manages to fit in church time too.

Taxation administration and practice continues to evolve and many expect it to feature prominently in the 2019 election. With all this happening in the background, the 34th National Convention program has been designed with one eye on the horizon, and both feet planted firmly on the ground. Find out more about John’s session and the rest of the program on our website.

The 34th National Convention takes place 13-15 March 2019 in Hobart. Offering a contrasting blend of heritage, scenery and culture, Hobart boasts world class activities and attractions nearby. We have included a number of suggested social options and accompanying person activities for your consideration so that you can make the most of our host destination. We encourage you to stay a few extra days with the family and explore Tasmania and all that it has to offer. Register now to secure your spot.

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