Member Since: 14th Dec 2017
See Website for experience on the dark side..... Do all things Tax Investigation on the good side since 2006 and enjoy every day.
WAMS Tax Ltd
1st Sep 2020
Hi Echo761 - In response to your comments I am guilty of having dabbled in VAT - I need to from time to time because of my specialist work (COP9 Tax investigations) - but I can say without any shame that I have actually been able to disagree with and win arguments with HMRC VAT experts from time to time. I will say however that I do have appropriate VAT expertise available when I am in danger of getting out of my depth on the VAT side. With respect VAT is not that complex and I have no intention of sitting any exams to please anybody.
1st Sep 2020
The introductions are the usual general and misguided comments probably initiated by HMRC without any investigation - i.e. "We understand from HMRC that advisers who are not by members of professional bodies represent 30% per cent of tax agents, but those advisers are responsible for most of the behavioural issues HMRC encounter" -
This is such a misleading statement that it wholly undermines the whole basis of the alleged attack on "unqualified " tax advisers.
Before any credibility can be given to such a statement it would be necessary for HMRC to have asked the question why such and such an error has arisen and who is actually evidenced as creating the particular error. There is no good suggesting anecdotal evidence as regards allegations made for example during the conduct of an investigation.
Having done the investigation work on both sides - and while not diminishing the worth of the vast majority of qualified and unqualified tax accountants - I can say that I would be hard pushed to quote any % of advisers who whether qualified or unqualified actually created the mess that was encountered during the investigation. Perhaps somebody should make a freedom of information request on HMRC asking them to provide the % of qualified and unqualified tax advisers who were evidenced as creating tax frauds etc and the actions taken against them.
If this attack on the individuals freedom to be a tax adviser - whether qualified by experience and or passing exams in the Inland Revenue - is suggested to eke out the bad apples in the barrel then it is totally misguided and unwarranted.
Again this is HMRC's solution to their "perceived problem" - make all the unevidenced allegations that you think you can get away with on the basis that the easily conned parliamentary legislators will latch on to your rumours and justify giving more powers to an organisation that should be using its existing powers to eke out the bad apples and publicise the action taken against them.
If this attack is to cover up HMRC's failure to address "avoidance schemes" in the past and to put a stop to the schemes being peddled then it is clear that this is the usual road roller to crack a nut.
Avoidance pedlars do not in my view or experience give any tax advice (they merely sell a product that some "knowledgeable and probably qualified" tax specialist has devised) and therefore to attack or restrict "general tax advisers" plying their wares is a misguided attempt to cut off the supply of schemes.
Frankly I am glad that I have PI Insurance and keep my knowledge up to date - to enable me to specialise in Code of Practice 9 Tax Investigations - but with the greatest respect to all concerned I have absolutely no intention of joining any club however well meaning it is. The parliamentarians have already put in place a register and check on my "fit and proper" behaviour under the Money Laundering Regulations and while I have fully conformed to this requirement I say enough is enough.
Sort out your own mess by using the powers and tools that you already have and if they are so bad and actually deliberate fraudsters - prosecute the "tax avoidance pedlars" - if you can - and leave the majority of tax advisers who are doing their best and to the best of their ability to earn a crust alone (and to continue to help HMRC perform to the extent they already do).
Rant over and get your ducks and evidence in a row before you start to cast unjustified aspersions in the direction of the general body of tax advisers.
Some people might understand and agree that it is probably qualified tax advisers that generate the tax avoidance schemes and avoidance pedlars who sell them do not give tax advice. What about the "qualified tax adviser firms" who actually reap loads in commissions from introductions to the avoidance pedlars and then equally wash their hands of responsibility when the xxxx hits the fan.
8th Oct 2018
I am afraid that in the "good old days" the Inspector DID make the decision to make an assessment and the amount of such assessment. It was also the Inspector that decided if an assessment was able to be appealed and both to agree any adjustment to such an assessment or to take the matter before the General/Special Commissioners. The Inspector may have delegated certain processes to junior staff but the crux decisions were truly taken by the Inspector - to be now read as Officer of the Board - an INDIVIDUAL not the Board Generally
I have no truck with change and think that I respond positively to most "improvements" but just as in the good old days - somebody has to be accountable and take responsibility for the current decisions being taken. If there is no current member of staff that takes such responsibility or decides contemporaneous matters then how can the words of Parliament be interpreted so as to replace "if an officer of the board does such and such" we can include or change it to mean "if at any time in the past somebody - not necessarily being an officer of the board - decided that such and such would apply in the future". A step too far I fear !!!! Just like the present situation where HMRC get 12 years to make assessments where foreign income is involved "allegedly because it takes so long to force the information out of unwilling taxpayers/non-taxpayers when in fact they all of a sudden have masses of information coming in from foreign countries "informing" UK HMRC of all the amounts invested or used abroad that "MIGHT" relate to evaded UK taxes on foreign sources.
Hopefully the HOL review of HMRC's new powers may tighten the reigns a bit and ensure that HMRC have to act fairly and speedily in relation to any "potential" tax evasion/avoidance cases.
8th Oct 2018
Why should parliament remove the need for accountability by a specific officer for having taken a decision and given a notice?
There is no reason why a computer should be able to take over the decision making required to ensure that a proper skin and bone officer reviews matters and ensures that assessments and determinations and notices are valid and properly prepared at the relevant time - garbage in garbage out????
8th Oct 2018
No person made the decision to issue a notice 10 years after the programmer was tasked with creating the tick boxes that would decide if the computer churned out the automatic process.
In the pre automatic process each and every assessment made by an officer had to be collected together and put in a "district Assessment Book Copies" and was not valid until stamped and bundled in the ledger to be included in the range of assessments made by the Inspector/officer and were only valid once the certificate of assessments made was signed by the authorised inspector.
There is nothing in the legislation that seems to have changed such requirements
17th Sep 2018
Equally the judge might have a very sheltered upbringing if he didn't think that Daniels could have been wearing them at home - without going out...… Surely HMR&C must appeal this one OR maybe not if the judge perhaps appreciated the show
17th Sep 2018
You might even expect HMRC to go down the COP8 route instead of restricting this to a S9A enquiry where they have information suggesting a historic situation. This should be dealt with appropriately including why there may be no discovery with "stale" information.
22nd Aug 2018
But you have to be aware that concessions are not law. Arguably all fair officers should be aware of such concessions and offer them. Certainly offered in one of my recent cases along with fixed rate calculation but remember that some Direct Tax investigators are not VAT trained and may be unaware of ALL concessions.
From an advisers point of view it is always essential and an advantage to know the skills of your adversary so that little gems don’t get missed by well intentioned, dutiful and “fair” officers.
Who do you blame for a concession being missed the HMRC officer or the adviser who didn’t know any better. A reason to engage experienced advisers when dealing with meaningful cases.
13th Aug 2018
when you're caught with your trousers down don't try to be a smart …..
I trust that the adviser
(a) didn't charge for the fee generating scheme to try second guessing HMRC when clearly the answer was to get the enquiries settled with maximum abatements/ discounts for telling and helping and giving access AND
(b) made good to the clients the extra penalties that would have been applied for lack of cooperation.
Next time the adviser gets an enquiry case he/she should pass it on to somebody that can deal with such matters properly and to get the client the best deal going - and before doing any fee generating work in the case.
23rd Jul 2018
Caught for what it was "disguised remuneration" and glad to see that the well established tax planning tool has not been undermined by the "smart" tax avoiders scheme to change an employment performance bonus for services performed into a loan write off or waiver...... .