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HMRC toolkits Rebecca

HMRC toolkits Rebecca

have you come across these - i would have thought that they would have been a boon for smaller firms 

by the way your software people are loath to answer the email - i dont want a telephone call

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09th Nov 2009 19:43

Why do you think that they would be a boon?

I see no reason to use them.

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By Anonymous
09th Nov 2009 19:59

you don't understand, Chris

They are intended to be a boon for HMRC, noone else.

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09th Nov 2009 20:21

Toolkits reveiwed

I have reviewed the two toolkits released today over the weekend, as HMRC kindly provided me with advance copies. My summary is here.

I disagree with comments about them being for the benefit of HMRC. Surely it is of benefit to us to know what areas HMRC focus on? And therefore surely of benefit to our clients? If I know that a particular area is likely to be looked at closely and the reasons why I can make sure that I have considered all of the issues - some of which I may not have thought of, and indeed some of which I may disagree with so I know I will be in for a debate. If I were a fee protection Insurance company I would probably require you to use them before I would provide cover - so that I am sure that you minimise exposure to costly compliance interventions. I'm convinced of their value already, as it is a valuable "peep behind the curtain" for danger areas.

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By Anonymous
09th Nov 2009 21:32

We will have to see Rebecca.

Any sane adviser (or taxpayer) would wish to know what HMRc regards as risk areas, and what HMRC is looking for.  To that extent, any disclosure and transparency is of course welcome.  It should benefit all (including HMRC) which represents a win - win for all parties.

But of course the objective of the toolkits is to push folk into accepting HMRC's view of things as well as make them aware of them.   It's a possibly fine line, but not really  (given the comments made before they came out, and the examples thus far).  It is not a cynics view, it is an analysis of their statements and views espoused though policy pronouncements and WT groups.  (And of course your reference to insurance only underlines the very point ; toe the line or else.)

To the extent that taxpayers and advisers wish to accept HMRC view, that's fine. 

It's true that in an ideal world, all parties would know, simply and uncontroversially, where exactly they stand in tax law for every single detail.  But even with the best endeavours of all concerned, that ideal world is a long way off.  Do the toolkits bring that day nearer? 

If the toolkits develop "merely" as "layman's versions" of statute, case law and HMRC interpretation thereof, they may be neutral or benign.  I just am a bit cynical that it would be like this, but let's see.

But let's be clear on their objective, else we will succumb (yet again) to spin.  HMRC wishes to use the toolkits to establish what they want done, not necessarily what the Government (sorry, I should say Parliament, but that increasingly becomes a stamp) or the Courts want done.  To the extent that coincides with tax payer's interests (by clarification of HMRC approach) that's fine.  We'll see what else it is used for before we get carried away with how useful they are.

My money would be on it being another step along the line of "we only want you to pay the right amount of tax".  Yep, that's good.  Er, well, with some important caveats to say the least!!

They are designed to be a boon to HMRC.  Fair enough (my earlier comment was meant literally). To the extent that they transparently and more simply clarify what HMRC already state (though their increasingly comnvoluted manuals) as their views, they can be useful to a practitioner,  small or large.  

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10th Nov 2009 09:19

Thanks for a more detailed summary of your views

Well now I know that we are largely in agreement. I would not advocate "blind acceptance" of everything in the toolkits - and have been quite careful to say in my review that this is HMRC's view of the rules, and not the law, which view many of us do not agree with in many instances. But in warning me of the things they may look at, and in particular where I face an argument so that I can marshall my thoughts in advance I think a real benefit to us too. I must say that in discussion with a very senior person at HMRC last week I was inetersted to hear that even he did not expect practitioners to agree with everything in the toolkits - and didn't think that the toolkits should be regarded as authoritative in that way - just an indication of where HMRC are coming from.

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10th Nov 2009 09:47

Rebecca said...........

"I must say that in discussion with a very senior person at HMRC last week I was interested to hear that even he did not expect practitioners to agree with everything in the toolkits - and didn't think that the toolkits should be regarded as authoritative in that way - just an indication of where HMRC are coming from."

If this is the view that local offices adopt then I would agree that they are a very useful tool for all concerned, but......................

I think we all expect that local Inspectors will regard what toolkits say as the "Word of the Lord" and simply will not accept that there is a different acceptable view. It is up to the higher echelons of HMRC to make sure that this is not the case but I am afraid that I am not holding my breath!!

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10th Nov 2009 20:09

You don't need to use HMRC's toolkits

But you will have to use something, unless I have got it wrong and just read too much into the tea leaves.

Try out my Practical Tax Toolkits. We cover all of HMRC's compliance issues, PLUS we add tax planning tips and advice. See www.rossmartin.co.uk

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