Customs in retreat over kitemark

Customs & Excise is heading towards a ‘sensible’ resolution following an embarrassing climbdown on its new tax software accreditation system.

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According to industry sources, the VAT man is now unlikely to force through a completely new tax-software kitemark that was controversially launched at the Softworld Accounting Finance event two weeks ago.

The decision followed talks with UK accounting bodies and industry body BASDA, and should allay fears among UK businesses that they will have to stump up extra money to pay for more testing by software companies.

It is expected that a third-party auditor will undertake testing for both accreditation schemes at the same time reducing duplication of effort and red tape in the process.

The launch itself caused uproar, with the ICAEW unhappy that the kitemark would clash with its own tax software accreditation, while BASDA chief executive Dennis Keeling claimed it was a ‘white elephant’ that would impose extra costs with ‘no benefit for users or tax authorities’.

Another meeting between the parties is expected to take place next week. ‘There are more discussions to go on,’ said a BASDA spokeswoman. ‘It looks as if we are heading towards a sensible compromise.’

John Oates, head of information systems at Baker Tilly and deputy chair of the ICAEW IT faculty, said that nothing had yet been agreed but the situation was ‘progressing’.

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