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Marc D
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PRO, post: 147465 wrote:
Hi Cindy

No need to apologise.

Accountants have been known to do that.

However, regardless of whether they are CPA, Chartered or otherwise
-they are committing an offence under the applicable legal profession act
-they are not allowed to charge you to provide such advice, if you have been charged you should ask for a refund
-their insurer will not cover them, which means you have to go after them individually. Accountants providing legal advice is professional negligence.

D

Hi Pro,

I feel I must reply as the information you are providing appears to be inaccurate and self serving and may be read by a member of the general public as suggesting that it is illegal for an accountant to provide advice on business structures, that doing so is an offence and they are not insured to do so.This is simply not true.

The provision of legal practice is restricted and is undefined in legislation with many arguments as to what constitutes legal practice. Firstly, the interpretation varies depending on which state has jurisdiction as the legal professional acts are state based so that the blanket statements you have made in fact have different interpretations depending on jurisdiction. For example, in South Australia, The Legal Practitioners Act 1981 S21 restricts the “practise (the) profession of law” (not tax advice and not even tax practice) as:

“a person practises the profession of the law, if acting for fee or reward on behalf
of some other person he or she—
(a) prepares any will or other testamentary instrument; or
(b) prepares an instrument creating, transferring, assigning, modifying or
extinguishing any estate or interest in real or personal property; or
(c) prepares any instrument relating to the formation of a body corporate, any
amendment to the memorandum or articles of association, rules or regulations
of a body corporate, any prospectus or take-over scheme relating to a body
corporate, or any instrument affecting the rights of shareholders or debenture
holders in a body corporate or any scheme of arrangement in respect of a
body corporate; or
(d) prepares any other instrument creating, transferring, assigning, modifying or
extinguishing any right, power or liability at law or in equity; or
(e) represents any party to proceedings in a court or tribunal.

Sitting with my client discussing business structures alternatives, tax strategies, GST compliance issues, and the like does not, in my opinion, come anywhere near the coverage of Act. When we decide a course of direction, a registered legal practitioner is then engaged to draw up the necessary instruments.

The discussion where other states are concerned may be more ambiguous as the term is legal practice which is not defined but interpreted (widely) in common law and administrative tribunals. This still supports my assertion at the beginning of my post that the information you have provided above is incorrect and may be misleading to the ordinary general public members who come to this forum for information