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Raising standards in the tax advice market

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The CIOT has responded to the HMRC call for evidence on raising standards of tax advice, noting that ‘tax advice’ is not necessarily always given by members of professional bodies. For example, ‘advice’ can be built into digital systems or embedded in technology platforms – a factor in the consultation that becomes particularly important given the proposed extension of making tax digital in the next few years.

The CIOT notes that, by comparison with the professional conduct in relation to taxation (PCRT), HMRC’s Standard for agents is not comprehensive enough to provide a baseline standard for all tax advisers. The Standard for Agents would need considerable expansion to balance protection of revenue with protection of the taxpayer, according to the CIOT – and it would be ‘easier and simpler’ to use PCRT instead.

The response notes that, although recent HMRC interventions have made an impact, with a strong record of winning tax avoidance cases leading to reduced avoidance activity, such interventions tend to focus on the ‘more egregious cases of bad behaviour’. Raising standards consistently would benefit from a range of interventions including addressing behaviour which is ‘poor’ rather than ‘unscrupulous’. With increasing digitalisation, ‘hidden’ tax advice in digital systems should also be brought into the scope of HMRC interventions, to make sure that authorised technology does not allow errors.

The CIOT’s document also includes a copy of responses from representative members of the Confédération Fiscale Européenne (CFE Tax Advisers Europe) Professional Affairs Committee, on the organisation and regulation of the profession in various EU countries.

Issue: 1499
Categories: News