HMRC/CIoT relationship at its worst, says new president

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN the premier tax body in the UK and the taxman has “never been worse”, according to its incoming president.

Anthony Thomas (pictured), who will take over as president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, will deliver his first speech this evening. He will tell delegates at the CIoT annual general meeting that “discussions with our members suggest that the relationship between HMRC and our members has never been worse”.

Thomas will say his goal is to “turn the tide” of the relationship and return to “that healthy tension between HMRC and the tax profession that existed 10 to 20 years ago: no special relationships, no cosy conferences, no favours, deals and understandings; no inside tracks and private access”.

The Revenue’s relationship with the institute will be the subject of criticism.

Thomas will argue at the AGM: “HMRC officials are happy to have closer working when it suits them and to continue to use the scarce and valuable resources of the institute to fill in gaps in their own thinking, while at the same time ignoring some sensible suggestions and recommendations.”

The registration of tax agents will also be an issue for the coming year, he will say: “The case for registration of agents needs to be made. Should there be a case for registration, this must be undertaken by an independent body.

“It is unacceptable for this to be in the hands of HMRC whether directly or indirectly. Simply put, HMRC cannot be permitted to act as prosecutor, jury, judge and executioner.”

Thomas will also criticise “recent HMRC plans [that] have indicated it wishes, indirectly, to regulate the tax community”.

“It is extremely difficult to have trust in the tax authorities when they feel they have the power to introduce de facto secondary legislation with no parliamentary scrutiny,” he will say. “We need to get back to taxing in accordance with the rule of law.”

Related reading