ATT president calls for tax profession regulation

THE TAX PROFESSION should be regulated, the incoming president of the Association of Taxation Technicians has said.

Stuart McKinnon (pictured) told the ATT council yesterday that there should be “some level of regulation or at the very least supervision” of professional tax advisors. He has set up a working party to look into this.

HM Revenue & Customs last week published the responses to its “tax agent strategy” consultation, which seeks to allow authorised tax advisors to access HMRC systems to change basic details. McKinnon said this will “radically” change the profession and this is a “pivotal point in the history of the tax profession”.

“The Agent Strategy has left hanging the question of compulsory regulation of the profession. It is odd bearing in mind that we remain one of the few unregulated professions… But what is wrong with regulation?,” he added.

“What has come out of HMRC’s own research is that the public cannot generally distinguish between someone who is qualified and someone who is not. To the man in the street the title Tax Agent denotes that that person has a certain level of expertise when in fact anyone can call themselves a Tax Agent and HMRC will accept them as such. Regulation is often seen as more red tape but it can and should mean protection.”

McKinnon was appointed after his predecessor, Andrew Meeson, stood down over an HMRC investigation in October. It has since emerged that Meeson was arrested and charged with cheating the Revenue through a tax fraud targeting the pension industry.

Related reading

Life Belt with Computer Folders