Professional bodies publish newly updated tax guidance

Wednesday 23 November 2016

It is vital for independent accountants to make sure they are properly informed of all the requirements of the tax industry. 

If self-employed workers are not properly educated about what they have to do in order to legally claim their finances. Without the right guidance, it is easy for new professionals to become confused. 

To help young professionals properly understand tax laws, the Chartered Institute of Taxation, the Association of Taxation Technicians, the Association of Accounting Technicians, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners have backed updated guidance entitled Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation (PCRT).

Although the criteria has been in existence for more than 20 years, it is regularly updated to ensure professionals are kept up to date with the latest industry changes. By setting out strong ethical standards from the relationship between tax advisers, the client and HRMC, it ensures the self-employed adhere to tax regulations. 

What’s more, it is based on five key principles. These are: integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behaviour. 

What is in the new update?

As part of the latest update, the professional bodies have boosted the code with some new Standards for Tax Planning, including making it clear that members must not create, encourage or promote tax planning arrangements or structures that set out to achieve results contrary to the intention of parliament. 

In a joint statement, the seven bodies explained: “PCRT has long set out professional and ethical standards which require more of the members of professional bodies than the letter of the law demands, and rightly so. 

“Professionals owe a duty to the society in which they operate as well as to their clients. Our professional rules have long recognised this, for example in requiring the correction of HMRC errors.”

Social expectations of behaviour in relation to tax planning have changed substantially in recent years, the associations added. 

All of the groups involved continued their message by saying that the new Standards for Tax Planning achieve an “appropriate balance” and enable the “vast majority” of advisers to carry on their tax planning duties to guarantee they pay the correct amount of tax by law. 

The updated criteria has also been supported by the government, while the HMRC has clarified that it is an acceptable way for dealings between themselves and association members. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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