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HMRC Call for evidence

Raising standards in the tax advice market

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Not surprisingly, this call for evidence slipped under the radar when it was published on 19 March.  Closing date for submissions is 28 May; late submissions will attract an automatic £100 penalty (joke).

Consultation description

The call for evidence asks for views and evidence on several issues including:

  • the scope of the market for tax advice and services
  • the characteristics of good and bad practice
  • current government interventions
  • international models
  • possible approaches to raising standards

Replies (5)

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By memyself-eye
01st May 2020 17:54

Ahhh....HMRC want evidence on 'standards'?

I'll risk the penalty!

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By SteveHa
01st May 2020 18:19

I don't have any institute membership, and I have no formal qualifications.

What I do have, is 20 years working in HMRC (formerly Inland Revenue) and 20 years experience in practice.

Now, I do work (as an employee) in an ICAEW practice, and so am duty bound to observe the professional conduct practices, although I would do so anyway.

Nevertheless, despite my history working there, I would not trust HMRC today to be able to regulate the industry.

Nor would I, in fact, trust any Government department to do the same.

There are many qualified practitioners out there that will run rings around me when it comes to tax. By the same token, there are many qualified practitioners out there that I will run rings around.

EDIT: My point is, a piece of paper is not a sign of competency or integrity.

Thanks (4)
Replying to SteveHa:
Hallerud at Easter
01st May 2020 18:56

The only "qualification"/third party verification that imho gives some sort of verification of competence working in practice is something akin to a detailed practice experience diary, akin to those that ICAS and certainly ACCA required one to keep (presume ICAEW also had this) during training ,and which was signed off by whoever supervised one's training/experience; mine are still in a deed box in the attic together with all my copy timesheets which were the basis of their compilation.

Even with that I certainly was not in any way equipped to offer my services to the great British public until circa 5-6 years after I started out and even then there were vast areas (as there still are) where I needed outside help.

If HMRC want better standards then HMRC or A N Other agency needs to police what agents do and for that , imho, HMRC need to employ people who have actually worked in practice.

For the SME sector a few long in the tooth ex practice bods poring over the working papers of agents would weed out a few cowboys and might deter those agents tempted from the straight and narrow if appropriate sanctions were available against agents; frankly,these days, very few HMRC trained staff would really know where to start so they need to go outwith the typical career civil servants and get a few hired guns.

HMRC working enquiries as a team of an accountant and a HMRC officer, where both the client's accountant and his client have a downside sanction/penalty risk re such an enquiry's outcome, could be a win win, the officer knows HMRC systems the accountant knows how accounts ought to be prepared; it could also, as a bonus, in effect give a bit of accountancy training to HMRC staff along the way.

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By spilly
02nd May 2020 12:35

The deadline has now been extended until 28th August.
Maybe HMRC has realised that we are all too busy to respond, and that they might possibly find themselves a little overwhelmed as well.

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