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HMRC Consultation On Raising Standards In The Tax Advice Market

Thursday 30th April 2020

HMRC has recently issued a consultation document on raising standards in the tax advice market.

In the March 2020 Budget, government announced that it would be launching a consultation into raising standards in the tax advice market, as foreshadowed in its response to the independent review into the loan charge published in December 2019.

The government recognises that many tax advisers are technically competent and adhere to high professional standards, and are a very useful source of advice and support to taxpayers. However, as the loan charge review highlighted, it has also commented that the market for tax advice appears not to be working as well as it should be. It considers some advisers are incompetent, some unprofessional, and a few actively corrupt. In the case of the loan charge, many of the taxpayers involved claimed that they had acted on advice from their tax agents, and now find themselves with no effective remedy against that bad advice. The government also acknowledges this is a complex market and any set of remedies will need careful consideration.

The latest consultation includes a call for evidence of the problem and proposes a range of options to improve the market. It seeks views from across the profession and from clients as to what steps can be taken in order to raise standards and provide taxpayers with the reassurance that the tax advice they receive is competent, professional and trustworthy.

The scope of potential reform could apply to anyone who provides or receives tax advice, including accountants, tax agents, legal professionals, payroll professionals, bookkeepers, insolvency practitioners, financial advisers and their clients as well as charities and other voluntary organisations that help people with their tax affairs. Software providers and employment agencies, umbrella companies and other intermediaries who arrange for the provision of workers to those who pay for their services, and end engagers of labour may also fall within scope

Comments on the consultation document have been requested by 28 August 2020.

If you would like more information on the above, please contact Keith Rushen on 0207 486 2378.


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