Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tax experts head the 'dole queue' - Really?

I was initially shocked to see a piece in the Sunday Times today headed: Professions head the dole queue. The second paragraph noted that
"The number of tax advisers, commercial pilots and underwriters out of work and claiming benefits has also more than doubled in a year, according to the Office for National Statistics."
Wow! Could this be true?

In a table contained in the article, half way down the list we find 'Tax Experts', and that the number who are now claiming unemployment benefit (sic) has risen by 200%.

This statistic struck me as odd to the say the least. (And that's leaving aside the fact that 'Job seekers allowance' replaced the dole and unemployment benefit in 1996!)

The table published in the Sunday Times (but not available online) is drawn from a report by the Office for National Statistics which shows the actual numbers of claimants per 'occupation'. During 2007, unemployed people who described themselves as 'taxation experts' numbered 25. In 2008 the number was 75. That's across the UK. It is this fact on which the 200% increase in the number of 'tax advisers' claiming benefits is based. Given the number of other claimants (in total just over 1.1 million) I think it's safe to say that the number of tax advisers and tax experts who lost their jobs last year is not a cause for concern within the profession.

What is it they say about Statistics?

Of course if there are any tax experts out there who satisfy the criteria for tax adviser membership of the Tax Advice Network and who want to build up their own independent practice with some marketing and business support from us, I would welcome the conversation.

1 comment:

  1. The story tells you more about the Sunday Times than anything else.