Share this content

There may be 'mystery shoppers' among you?

Did you know that HMRC are encouraging your corporate clients to complain about you?

Didn't find your answer?

HMRC's bi-monthly Agent Update and Employer Bulletin are created from the same sources and usually share a lot of content - for obvious reasons.  But those published this week have at least one major variance ... the description of current consultations on tax issues.

In the Agent Update, it talks simply about "The government has launched a consultation on proposals to introduce a requirement for tax advisers to hold professional indemnity insurance (PII). We’re inviting you to share your views."

Whereas in the Employer Bulletin, it expands the scope considerably when it says "Hearing about your experience when dealing with tax advisers is important to us and it will help us decide the best way forward.  As part of the consultation, we’d like to hear your thoughts on:
* what checks you carry out when engaging a tax adviser? Do you check whether they are insured
* your experience (if any) of making claims or complaints against a tax adviser for bad advice that you may have received
* the government’s ambition is for HMRC to share information about the adviser with the client digitally
Responding is easy, you can email your views to [email protected]. The consultation closes on 15 June 2021."

If ever you doubted that HMRC want to 'police' your operations (in this case as a Tax Adviser), then think again.

Replies (15)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
16th Apr 2021 15:31

Shocking. Well, I mean outrageous - it hasn’t shocked me that HMRC said this.
Good job no-one reads those emails.

Thanks (3)
Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
16th Apr 2021 18:58

Don't be too complacent. Employer Bulletin used to be hard copy and posted to over 1m businesses every other month. Now it's digital only (on GOV.UK), but a reminder email is sent to those same businesses ... and in most mid-size corporates that I know is studied fairly assiduously by the Finance and the Payroll depts (if separate). So an inexpensive way for HMRC to encourage maximum response from anyone with an axe to grind (real or perceived) over any advice received from their Agent!

Thanks (1)
avatar
By Paul Crowley
16th Apr 2021 15:36

They would be better off properly regulating the people they regulate
All qualifieds regulated by their body have insurance as a requirement

Cannot be difficult for regulator (HMRC) to ask if the people they regulate have insurance?

NOT require it, but just ask to see if there really is a problem

Thanks (0)
Replying to Paul Crowley:
Tornado
By Tornado
16th Apr 2021 17:17

This sounds like the perfect response to this question.

Thanks (0)
Replying to Paul Crowley:
avatar
By johnjenkins
20th Apr 2021 10:16

From my understanding every agent who deals with HMRC has to have Insurance, either regulated by their body or HMRC via "a fit and proper person" through customs. So the only people who do not have insurance are those that shouldn't be an agent, which I would have thought HMRC could find quite easily. No, of course, silly me, they need us to do their work yet again.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Barbara G
16th Apr 2021 17:56

Flip, I've a good mind to email my views as requested on their second point

* your experience (if any) of making claims or complaints against a tax adviser for bad advice that you may have received

Highlighting the fact that I can, and have, asked the same question of HMRC on the CJRS helpline on four separate calls in the space of two hours and received a different and conflicting answer each time.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black? Bad advice indeed? Huh!! Cheek of HMRC!!

Thanks (4)
avatar
By Hugo Fair
16th Apr 2021 19:05

I may be over-sensitive, but it's actually the phrase "the government’s ambition is for HMRC to share information about the adviser with the client digitally" that most raises my hackles.
It sounds like they're aiming to disclose their opinion of an Agent to a client ... and this is from the organisation that only a few years ago had to row back (and then deny) plans to 'grade' Agents (terms like Fully-trusted, Reliable, Adequate and worse were considered) in order to determine which services they'd be allowed to provide!

Thanks (1)
avatar
By DaveyJonesLocker
16th Apr 2021 22:41

They really don't want us involved come full MTD do they?

Thanks (3)
Slim
By Slim
16th Apr 2021 23:39

They can [***] right off.

Thanks (4)
avatar
By Calculatorboy
17th Apr 2021 22:58

Couldn't give a flying fck what hmrc do subversively...

I always try to act properly and within the guide to professional ethics of my professional body ..even though I think they don't give a sh#t about small practicioners like me .

Thanks (1)
avatar
By Ammie
20th Apr 2021 10:00

I would have thought that HMRC would have more pressing issues to get right.

Sounds like a compliance tick box exercise to show how organised and disciplined they are. Just papering over the cracks really.

Thanks (1)
Photo of MilesBW
By milesbw
20th Apr 2021 10:18

I received the following email from HMRC, as a software developer.

Dear Developer,

As one of our key stakeholders we would like to alert you to an HMRC consultation published today on ‘Raising Standards in the Tax Advice Market’ on which we would value your input.

Responses to our call for evidence, which closed in summer 2020, showed a recognition that the tax advice market needs some form of intervention to enhance consumer protection and improve standards. As a first step, the government committed to consulting on introducing a requirement for all tax advisers to hold professional indemnity insurance. The consultation also looks for views on a definition of tax advice which will help determine who falls into scope of this requirement.

I’m a software provider, not a tax adviser. Why does this affect me?

This consultation is aimed at all those who offer advice or assist their customers in complying with HMRC requirements. There is currently no standard definition of ‘tax advice’, so this consultation seeks to understand whether – and why – there should be exceptions to a broadly drawn definition.

It is vital that HMRC understands the impact these proposals would have on the software provider market. We would therefore welcome and value your engagement on this.

If you would like to be involved or contribute written views, please contact HMRC at [email protected]. The consultation will run until 15 June 2021.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks (0)
Replying to milesbw:
avatar
By johnjenkins
20th Apr 2021 10:25

IT will be a target for HMRC. What advice is being given on IR35 etc.etc. It's never ending.

Thanks (0)
Replying to milesbw:
By SteveHa
20th Apr 2021 10:57

Are HMRC themselves included? Given that their advice is frequently wrong, varies depending on who's giving it, does not conform to the law in far too many cases, and the "advisors" that you generally get to speak to don't even have access to the legislation, but only to their own, flawed, internal guidance, surely they should get their own house in order before passing judgement on others.

EDIT - word "Advisors" quoted to surely bring them within the remit of their own consultation.

Thanks (3)
Replying to SteveHa:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
20th Apr 2021 11:37

Exactly!

"This consultation is aimed at all those who offer advice or assist their customers in complying with HMRC requirements. There is currently no standard definition of ‘tax advice’, so this consultation seeks to understand whether – and why – there should be exceptions to a broadly drawn definition. It is vital that HMRC understands the impact these proposals would have on the software provider market."

So ... they're aiming for a broadly drawn definition - and seeking thoughts on any possible exceptions to this! That is a recipe for bad legislation (even if you agree with the objective - which in this case I don't).
The broadest definition would encompass anything or anyone who so much as suggests a set of possible actions on any topic that may downstream have an impact on a taxation issue (so all guidance, not just advice, is included).
Maybe the only exception they envisage is HMRC guidance and advice!

In the case of software developers, any sort of quality software MUST provide an explanation not only of where to enter specific data but of any underlying choices and the impact of each (whether within the software, its documentation or via a human helpline service). If that software will be used in ANY capacity (by ANY person) to eventually affect a Tax-related calculation or submission, then these HMRC proposals are in danger of categorising the developer as a Tax Adviser.

Thanks (1)
Share this content