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CIOT says no to regulation of advisors

10 August 2009
Issue: 4218 / Categories: News , Admin
Body objects to 'additional burdens' proposed by HMRC

The Chartered Institute of Taxation has become the latest organisation to criticise HMRC’s Working with Tax Agents proposals, warning that advisors must not be laden with extra regulatory burdens.

The trade body has expressed concerns with some of the messages and submissions in the Revenue’s consultation document, opposing the planned regulation of tax agents.

The CIOT says it agrees with the taxman’s raising of the issue of how agents’ work can be improved for the benefit of the tax system generally, but the institute’s members have stressed that the need for improved standards must also apply to the work of the Revenue and tax professionals who are not members of any professional body.

‘We wholly support HMRC in any drive to root out bad work in the tax field,’ said CIOT tax policy director John Whiting, ‘but any moves must target those few who are falling short and not simply impose additional burdens on the great majority of agents who do a good job for their clients and, fundamentally, keep the tax system going.’

He added: ‘Our preferred route is to work together with HMRC and the other professional bodies to agree a proper level of standards for tax work that can apply to all.

‘Failure to meet those standards might initially mean a warning, but ultimately could lead to disciplinary action, which must be independent and judicially managed, not something that would just be down to HMRC.’

In its response to the Working with Tax Agents paper, the institute censures the document for not including ‘statistics covering the problems that HMRC see’. The CIOT goes on to urge the Revenue ‘to share the evidence which supports [the department’s] analysis, rather than relying on anecdotal evidence of the occasional incompetent or rogue agent’.

Working with Tax Agents ‘does not identify a clear or significant problem’, says the CIOT. ‘Consequently, we think that regulation of the profession is not the answer.’

Last week, the law firm McGrigors warned that clauses within the Revenue's proposals could lead to advisers moving overseas to avoid an increasingly burdensome system of regulation.

Issue: 4218 / Categories: News , Admin
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