Hartnett: advisers should stop complaining

One of the UK’s top taxmen has called on advisers to stop moaning about HM
Revenue & Customs.

Speaking at last night’s ICAEW Wyman Symposium, HMRC director general Dave
Hartnett made a colourful speech, pleading with the profession to stop
complaining about the taxman’s performance.

‘Tax administrators want advisers to take a deep breath and stop complaining,
my colleagues feel oppressed by constant criticism,’ said Hartnett.

‘We don’t want persistent unending criticism.’

Speaking of the OECD’s tax intermediaries project, which is looking at the
future role of advisers between tax authorities and business, Hartnett said
every country involved felt advisers had an adverse effect on government

‘Without reservation they think advisers had undermined spending plans by

But Hartnett added that, following his conversations with accountants and
lawyers, everyone needed to focus on ‘mutual trust and competence’ and extolled
the importance of advisers.

‘Advisers are the first line of compliance. They have a deeper understanding
of businesses than tax administrators and understanding of [business] systems.’

He admitted that to encourage reciprocity, understanding and collaboration
between the parties the taxman had to change more than advisers.

Working Together
, the collaboration scheme between
advisers and HMRC that recently fell by the wayside, would also be
reinvigorated, pledged the taxman.

Further reading:

Hartnett invites questions from advisers for podcasts

HMRC: qualified advisers ‘no guarantee’ of
correct returns

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