AIA CALLS FOR GREATER LEGAL PROTECTION FOR ACCOUNTANTS AND TAX AGENTS

Last updated: 28 Aug 2020 01:00 Posted in: AIA

AIA has called for greater legal protection for the professional titles ‘accountant’ and ‘tax agent’ in its response to the HMRC consultation ‘Raising standards in the tax advice market: call for evidence’.

The consultation seeks to explore ways to raise standards and increase transparency in the tax advice market. AIA has campaigned to highlight the benefits of using qualified accountants and tax agents, who are trained to a high standard in both ethical and professional conduct, and throughout the response has provided clarity and guidance on how AIA works to uphold standards of tax advice issued by its members in practice.

Within the scope of the consultation there is a wider public interest argument in place for expansion of the role of professional bodies within the remit of improving ‘good agents’ and how they can add value. AIA argues that the government should work to promote the effectiveness of good agents by recognising that additional safeguards and public interest concerns are met by consumers undertaking the services of a regulated individual to conduct their tax affairs, with proper recourse to advice if things go wrong and an independent complaints system.

All the options set out within the consultation require careful consideration against the public interest – ensuring a continuation of the availability of tax advice to members of the public whilst recognising the benefits of greater scrutiny over the competence of tax agents to bear down on bad behaviour and agents. It must be recognised that any option that increases the burden and cost of regulation may result in tax agents leaving the regulated sector and acting with a lower level of scrutiny which would not result in a net benefit position.

Read the full response by clicking here.

AIA argues that the government should work to promote the effectiveness of good agents by recognising that additional safeguards and public interest concerns are met by consumers undertaking the services of a regulated individual to conduct their tax affairs, with proper recourse to advice if things go wrong and an independent complaints system.