The way forward | AccountingWEB

The way forward

There was a meeting for volunteers on friday 9th March to discuss the way forward or as Spike Milligan would say "what are we going to do now". I'm sure Rebecca will fill everyone in on the nitty gritty, but I thought I would give my thoughts on an overview.

The main difference I noticed between the condoc and the meeting was how HMRC have changed their stance. There is now a real feeling that agents can work with HMRC to bring about the eventual takeover of the admin side of HMRC. I saw no problems that couldn't be overcome, although some of the work will need time and patience. Everyone was in agreement that agent strategy had to be got right first time however long it takes. HMRC admitted that some decisions that were taken a couple of years ago were wrong and re-assured that this could not happen again. Although our thinking and HMRC's thinking is totally different there is real commitment from HMRC to have a system that actually works for both sides.

I fully understand those agents who won't even talk to HMRC, but I say to them come on board and bring your views of what will make agent strategy stronger, so that eventually we should be able to design a tax system that is transparent and works for all. (no i'm not being paid by hmrc into a ltd co in my wifes cousins next door neighbours snake's name).

My only worry is (just so you know I wasn't being carried away with the grande hospitality afforded us - you had to walk 2 miles to the loo) that once all this comes together say in 2 years, and government say "no money" or the little empire builders in HMRC who are going to lose their job as a result say "on yer bike" and then you have to start chopping and changing with the resulting crap that will follow.

I'm hoping others there will give their views.

Brian Redford actually admitted that tax avoidance was legal. So come on HMRC divert your income on tax evasion and agent strategy and leave tax avoidance alone.That will be sorted once we are allowed to design the tax system for the future.


Agree with johnjenkins on the way forward

rota2 | | Permalink

I was there too and the dozen or so HMRC representatives admitted several times that mistakes had been made and seemed eager to improve in future.

Prior to the meeting I did not think Self-serve would be of much benefit, but now I think it will help a lot.

Everyone should play a part in the future consultations.

Fairly useful?

Homeworker | | Permalink

I found the meeting interesting and fairly useful but was disappointed that we could only recommend a total of 3 new items for "self-serve" due to costs constraints.  One of those suggested was online registration, which has been available for some time and in my view should not have been included for this reason.  I expected to recommend new options, not existing ones.

Marion Hayes's picture

Kings Lynn

Marion Hayes | | Permalink

I have been advised that there is a possible workshop on 26 March 2012 in Kings Lynn.

If you are reasonably near please try to attend as the more of us that go the better. The take up is very low at the moment.

Also, if anyone has any follow up questions to the London meeting which I was unable to attend please let me know and I will try to ask them

RebeccaBenneyworth's picture

Manchester event

RebeccaBenneyworth | | Permalink

There is another identical event at Manchester this week, so anyone who is a volunteer for the HMRC programme should make an effort and try to get there. I'm really pleased that John has taken the time to start this discussion. I found the day useful and illuminating, and as John says, there is a genuine desire to see this work from both sides. HMRC people are investing a lot of time (and money) in the groundwork phase (which they called discovery phase, and gave me a bit of a shudder for a minute until I understood what they meant) testing ideas on agents of all sizes and asking what are the right questions to ask, so that they get the maximum from their input, and our time is not wasted.

As John says, there are some key issues which are not simple, but with the right approach we can find a joint solution, and thereby create a much improved tax system - which will benefit us all - both as those with businesses affected when things go wrong, and as taxpayers who ultimately bear the cost.


consultation on agent strategy-AND DELIVERY!

david5541 | | Permalink


I was there too and the dozen or so HMRC representatives admitted several times that mistakes had been made and seemed eager to improve in future.

Prior to the meeting I did not think Self-serve would be of much benefit, but now I think it will help a lot.

Everyone should play a part in the future consultation


The whitehall(or to be exact 100 parliament street) panomime is always so convincing and smooth.

with the likes of david gauke there.

The problems always occur when the pantomime in whitehall set tight targets for the "real" men and women on the end of the phones and in the service "back offices"(-bearing in mind this will do them all out of a job)-

The best thing HMRC can decide on is to have more managers manning the phones (particularly the agent helpline)as they did in April)( and the "eccommerce" helpline which will be linked to setting up the agent strategy programme).



deg2yq | | Permalink

A simple suggestion:

Starts with a question- Would you go to a solicitor/barrister to handle your legal affairs if they were just 'qualified by experience' or a doctor/surgeon/GP for that matter.

The bodies charged with regulating these members have real power to destroy an offending members career and income , and you have to be both qualified by experience and have a recognised formal qualification in order to practice, and then monitored by the relevant oversight bodies.


There will always be incompetence etc  in any group but  where there is proper regulation through proper qualification and cpd , then the chance of this occurring is greatly reduced and effective and structured remedy more effectively administered at the local level i.e through the respective authorised regulating body.

 If some-one has not bothered to go through the painstaking route of study , approved professional development and training, by a proper chartered body , then they have no business offering their services to the public.

There is a very serious problem of thousands of unregulated overnight accountants , 'qualified by experience' , although how you define that term is hard to fathom. And there in lies the most significant problem in variability of performance, with clients able to shop around for the lowest price for some-one calling themself acountant who will give them the result that the client requires . ethical or not, and it is much easier for an unregulated so called 'accountant' to do so.

My suggestion is for HMRC to recognise only those tax agents who are properly recognised to do so through appropriate CCAB bodies namely ACCA and ICAEW as well as CIOT, so that these agents will be effectively monitored through their relevant tax/accountancy body compliance processes.











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Group: HMRC Agent Strategy
A forum for members to share ideas, evidence and common responses to HMRC's consultation paper, “Establishing the future relationship between the Tax