Mehjoo v Harben Barker: Lessons for accountants
The media suggests that a recent professional negligence case imposes an obligation on accountants to advise on tax schemes. Mark Lee looks at the reality of the position.
No sooner had The Times reported on the High Court case of Mehjoo v Harben Barker than variations on their headline were being repeated as fact: “Judge says accountants must help clients avoid tax”. The truth, as ever, is somewhat more nuanced.
In fact the law has not changed. There is no new obligation on accountants to advise on fancy tax schemes. Nor is there any requirement for them to understand complex tax schemes. Thus there is no need to protect accountants from such a dubious obligation (as one commentator has demanded).
I believe that the position remains exactly as I set out in my article for AccountingWEB last month Tax schemes: What do you tell clients?
So why is so much of the press saying otherwise...