SPAA takes aim at $2000 cap on self-education

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Education

Changes to tax deductions for self-education

The Federal Government’s decision to cap tax deductions for self-education at $2000 flies in the face of its stated aim to improve professionalism across the financial services sector.

The SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA), which has been at the forefront of lifting professional standards across the SMSF sector over the past decade, says this decision is both “short-sighted and self-defeating”.

SPAA Senior Manager, Technical & Policy, Jordan George, says: “A quick check of what’s involved for SPAA members to remain at the top of their game in a FoFA environment clearly indicates that the $2000 cap is totally inappropriate and misunderstands the costs of professionalism.

“By our reckoning a SPAA specialist would spend more than $6000 a year attending conferences and participating in courses and webinars just to stay abreast of developments in their professions, and that’s taking a conservative view of what courses and conferences they attend.

“What has to be remembered is that gaining a qualification doesn’t end the education process; a changing world means members have to continually improve their skills.

“All our feedback from our members, of whom 50% attend the national conference, is that they enormously value the technical content of what SPAA offers, believing it’s integral to their professional development. And it’s the clients who lose when our members face barriers to improving their professional skills.”

George says with the SMSF sector now having about $500 billion in assets under management, and with the number of trustees approaching one million, the need for trustees to be able to access the highest quality professional advice has never been greater.

“We constantly read how the Government and regulators have concerns about the SMSF sector. One way to help alleviate those concerns is to ensure SMSF advisors are encouraged to continually upgrade their skills,” he says.

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