TaxAdministrationICAEW: Legal privilege rules “unsustainable”

ICAEW: Legal privilege rules "unsustainable"

ICAEW licks its wounds after courts decide against extending legal professional privilege to tax advisers

Medium

A court ruling that maintains legal professional privilege solely for lawyers is “contrary to the public interest”, according to the ICAEW.

The institute said it was disappointed with this morning’s Court of Appeal decision, and would review its options.

“As it stands at the moment, the current position is anti-competitive for UK taxpayers and businesses. Whether they consult lawyers or chartered accountants, in our view clients who seek professional tax advice should be treated in the same way, irrespective of the qualification of the person,” said Frank Haskew, head of the ICAEW tax faculty.

“We believe that the current situation is unsustainable and contrary to the public interest. However, the judges decided that they were bound by existing precedent and that only lawyers were entitled to LPP.

“As a professional body, we will be reviewing the options available to press the case for reforming the LPP rules so that there is a level playing field for taxpayers seeking tax advice.”

The Law Society said the decision was “reassuring for clients and solicitors”.

“The concept of LPP has been and remains closely tied to the administration of justice. The first duty of a solicitor, like other lawyers, is to the court and the second is to the client. In this respect lawyers are unique among the professions,” said Law Society president Linda Lee.

“If LPP is to be extended beyond the advice of the legal professions it must be done via statute that clearly defines the limits and conditions of any extension both as to the areas of law or the professional adviser to ensure certainty as to the scope of its application.”

The Court of Appeal hearing saw Prudential fight to keep advice it had received from tax advisers protected by LPP. HM Revenue & Customs wanted access to the advice.

The ICAEW made a representation to the court in favour of extending LPP. The Law Society presented a counter-argument.

Further reading:

Tax advisers lose bid to extend legal privilege

Related Articles

HMRC issues updated Trusts Registration Service guidance

Administration HMRC issues updated Trusts Registration Service guidance

2w Emma Smith, Managing Editor
‘Significant recovery’ for HMRC customer service, claims boss Thompson

Administration ‘Significant recovery’ for HMRC customer service, claims boss Thompson

1y Fraser Simpson, Reporter
HRMC loses £653,000 tax battle following administration error

Administration HRMC loses £653,000 tax battle following administration error

2y Fraser Simpson, Reporter
Bid to cut VAT bill on wedding venue hire rejected by Tribunal

Administration Bid to cut VAT bill on wedding venue hire rejected by Tribunal

2y Richard Crump, Writer
HMRC high-value tax cases drop 15%

Accounting Firms HMRC high-value tax cases drop 15%

2y Fraser Simpson, Reporter
Government deliberates secondary adjustment to transfer pricing rules

Administration Government deliberates secondary adjustment to transfer pricing rules

2y Fraser Simpson, Reporter
HMRC taskforces raise £540m since launch

Administration HMRC taskforces raise £540m since launch

2y Richard Crump, Writer
Government should rethink “digitally distracted” HMRC, ATT urges

Administration Government should rethink “digitally distracted” HMRC, ATT urges

2y Fraser Simpson, Reporter