Treasury holds crunch meeting to define profession

A high-level meeting of the UK’s top tax professionals and the government met
last Friday to thrash out the definition of an accountant, in a bid to make sure
advisers are not hit with their clients’ tax bills.

The meeting was set up to begin discussions between government and tax
advisers over incoming legislation to stamp out tax avoidance through the use of
service companies

Accountants are meant to be exempt from the possibility of facing their
clients’ tax bills under the new law, yet there are concerns about the
definition of an accountant and accountancy services, and which advisers are
allowed the exemption.

The government has always been keen to avoid creating a strict definition for
accountant, instead usually treating CCAB-qualifieds as accountants in

Anne Redston, who attended the meeting, suggested there were many professional
tax advisers who did not hold a CCAB qualification, including ex-tax inspectors.
‘We’re all hopeful of finding a definition ­ not impossible, but difficult. I
don’t think you need to be CCAB qualified as the legislation is not absolute on

The issue of narrowing who can use the term accountant is regularly lobbied
on by the accounting institutes, which argue unqualified members of the public
cannot call themselves accountants.

ICAEW chief executive
Michael Izza said on his blog last week that the unqualified debate was ‘a
matter of public interest’.

Detailed consideration of the MSC legislation is expected in parliament over
the next month.

Further reading

recognition for ‘accountants’ is unlikely

search of a definitive definition

Related reading