HMRC chairman denies tax adviser “regulation”

THE CHAIRMAN of HMRC has denied that plans to require tax advisers to register for a streamlined service was regulation through the backdoor.

Mike Clasper told Accountancy Age that the proposal, which will see enrolled advisors use a self-service system to input client tax data into HMRC systems, would not involve punishing advisers. Concerns have been aired that advisers who upset HMRC wil be removed from the system.

“It’s nothing to do with regulating ‘quality’ – it’s within sensible constraints,” said Clasper.

The taxman intends to use the registration to monitor how advisers use the new system. If problems arise between the adviser and HMRC, “we’ll work with the agent to improve the situation” before access is restricted, said Clasper.

Advisers blocked from using the streamlined self-service system would still be able to represent clients through normal channels, Clasper highlighted, adding: “We hope this will be a relatively small group.”

Clasper said one concern he has with the new system is that advisers will find the registration process “stringent”, though this is required to protect the Exchequer from criminal fraud gangs.

“Some crime groups will think ‘this is a new window into the financial administration of the country’. We know. We’ll be very vigilant against criminal attack.”

For more of the HMRC chairman’s thoughts on the proposed registration system, and his views on the Taxman’s recent performance, visit tomorrow.

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