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How do you explain tax policies to clients?

IFS have launched a new tool to help non-tax experts understand difficult policies.

Didn't find your answer?

IFS have launched a brand new tool called TaxLab. They have stated that the tool was "created to provide better access to impartial information about how the UK tax system works, the effects it has on different people and businesses, and the options for reform".

TaxLab was designed to explain tax and policy in a simple and concise manner that non-tax experts could get to grips with.

What are your thoughts on this resource? Do you plan on using it, or is it just a waste of energy?

Do you have any other preferable methods of explaining difficult tax guidelines to your clients? Feel free to share any alternative processes you might have.

Replies (10)

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ghm
By TaxTeddy
15th Jun 2021 09:09

In the 35 years since I left HMRC and started working in practice I have never once encountered a client who was interested in having tax policy explained. To be fair, I'm not interested in policy either.

The only relevant points which interest me are points of tax law. In other words, I'm not concerned with the policy which brought us here but I am concerned with the law which we have to apply.

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Replying to TaxTeddy:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
15th Jun 2021 11:00

To be fair policy and direction of travel re taxes is something I have discussed with my employers, for instance we have just sold our biggest investment property and part of the reason it has been sold now is the current CGT rates for commercial property and the likely direction of travel of CGT rates going forward.

Now we may have guessed wrong re direction, maybe rates are not going to rise, but this is a significant gain, the tax is significant and therefore reading the Runes is something I would certainly do/discuss.

The same sort of thing is done when chatting with advisers re IHT planning, forecasting how the tax position may change in future is legitimate and sensible and tax policy documents can give a steer of rough direction of travel.

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By Duggimon
15th Jun 2021 09:21

For "impartial advice on the UK tax system" there does seem to be a lot of opinion in there, from a first glance across a couple of articles.

Backing it up with their own reports doesn't constitute evidence based reporting and really, do we need another London based, London educated, London-centric body telling the rest of the UK how they think taxes ought to work?

I'm not going to be referring anyone here because I disagree with their opinions, and it's not really a useful tool for providing facts on the tax system when the opinions are interspersed with no real indication as to what's fact and what isn't. I can do a better job explaining what my clients need to know myself.

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Replying to Duggimon:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
15th Jun 2021 10:34

Its a long standing lobby group, albeit one of the more impartial. ie not your standard "paid for by an industry group, to force policy in their direction with a fluffy name pretending to be independent"

Its still got a lot of 'opinions' however which have no place in tax.

Of course even if you stick with the "facts", it is also an opinion which ones are stated as they tend to be done so to present an argument based on an opinion.

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By bernard michael
15th Jun 2021 09:25

As it'll be written in HMRCspeak that would also have to be explained to the client. Mine pay me to sort tax problem not explain them

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Replying to bernard michael:
rebecca cave
By Rebecca Cave
15th Jun 2021 11:31

Its not written in 'HMRC speak' - take a look : https://ifs.org.uk/taxlab/
The wording is definately plain English.

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By tom123
15th Jun 2021 09:55

If by IFS you mean the Institute for Fiscal Studies, I do find Paul Johnson very clear when explaining stuff in the news.

Might have a read of the links etc.

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By fawltybasil2575
15th Jun 2021 12:59

@ Rebecca (your 11.31 post).

". . . definately (sic) plain English"

Sorry, Rebecca, but I had to smile :)

Basil.

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Replying to fawltybasil2575:
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By mikec.lambertchapman
22nd Jun 2021 10:02

So Rebecca is "H" then ?!

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By David Gordon FCCA
24th Jun 2021 12:35

If -Heaven forefend- I really do need to explain a tax point to a client, the last thing I do is quote tax rules. unless I do wish the client's eyes to glaze over as client slips into a coma.
I use examples from Charles Dickens, football, Aesop's fables, even the bible, as an aid to get across some understanding of the matter. I am not joking. This seems to work with more chance of success. rather than quoting para 99 (Sec.123z).
At least these alternative sources are written in comprehensible English.

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