Working with agents: Deadline extended
An overview of the current strands of work and links to articles studying each area in detail, plus a link for an email response. On 19 Februrary, HMRC extended the consultation deadline on the proposals to 28 April, effectively ruling them out of consideration for the 2010 Finance Act.
This article summarises the work underway with HMRC's consultation on working with tax agents. There are more detailed articles on key aspects of the consultation, which are linked below to provide an in-depth study of the entire area. Those who wish to respond to the consultation can use the email form provided by HMRC which is linked to this article and at the end of each of the more detailed articles.
The first consultation on the subject of working with agents was opened on 22 April 2009 and closed on 7 August 2009. The wide-ranging consultation document considered a very broad range of issues from poor work to deliberate non-compliance, and explored the possible approaches HMRC would take. The consultation stated that it was not intended that at this stage solutions would be offered, but that the scope of any future work might be directed by the responses to the consultation. Registration of agents was considered as one possible approach.
Second consultation - deadline extended
The second consultation states that this is part of on-going work, and HMRC clearly intends to break the work down into manageable parts. The consultation opened at the Pre-Budget Report on 9 December 2009. Following initial responses, HMRC has extended the consultation deadline for the draft legislation to 28 April, meaning that the legislative proposals will not be included in the 2010 Budget as many feared. Responses to the wider document should still be submitted by 3 March. This stage of the work considers three main areas:
- Revised procedures (but no new legislation) on reporting misconduct to professional bodies;
- New legislation (which has now been issued in draft form) to deal with delberate wrongdoing by agents, (for which the consultation deadline has been extended) and
- Processes to deal with high volume agents – those who often deal with large numbers of repayment claims in respect of a specific issue.
Decisions already taken
As a result of responses to the first consultation, and HMRC’s views, there are one or two aspects which have already been decided.
- There is to be no registration scheme for tax agents. HMRC was not convinced that this was the appropriate way to go, and respondents to the first consultation generally held a similar view.
- Although there is no particular benefit in defining a tax agent in law, in order to frame legislation dealing with deliberate wrongdoing, some legislation will be needed to identify those the powers are aimed at. This is included in the new draft legislation.
The reporting to professional bodies needs no new powers, nor does the action taken by HMRC to deal with high volume agents, so these can commence as and when HMRC decides. Further legislation will be consulted on regarding civil powers for behaviour that does not constitute deliberate wrongdoing – it is anticipated that this may take up to a further 18 months to develop.
How to respond
In order to respond effectively, you will need to consider the proposals in a little more detail. The articles linked above may be of some assistance, but you may also like to study
You can respond by email – email@example.com
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