Like many commentators I welcome this document and agree that it foreshadows enormous changes in the relationship between accountants, tax advisers and HMRC.
I am also pleased to see that the document reflects much of the feedback submitted two years ago in response to an ill-judged and confused document: "Working with Tax Agents". This was far more adversarial and unhelpful than is the current effort.
I submitted a detailed response to that document on behalf of The Tax Advice Network. Although most of our tax advisers are members of one or more of the professional bodies, some are Qualified by Experience. This typically includes substantial training whilst working within HMRC or it's predecessors, the Inland Revenue or HM Customs and Excise. As such my comments were intended to offer an independent and more objective view than the professional bodies are able to do.
Looking back at my response I note it was very critical of the style, tone and content of the Working with Tax Agents document. I can also see that the new one addresses many, but not all, of the points I made. This proves that HMRC have been listening.
- establish a Tax Adviser Review BodY (TARBY) to receive and consider reports from HMRC about tax agents whose performance may be unacceptable; and
- simplify the procedure for taxpayers to recover wasted costs when HMRC procedures and mistakes lead to increased fees from their tax agents.