Do accountants think the tax profession should be regulated?

Tax accountants may be interested to learn that the incoming president of the ATT has called for the tax profession to be regulated.

Stuart McKinnon, the Association of Taxation Technicians’ new president said professional tax advisors should be regulated to some degree, or at the very least supervised and he has instigated a working party to examine the matter further.

Earlier this month, HMRC published responses to its consultation into tax agent strategy. The Revenue proposes to let authorised tax advisors access its systems and make changes to basic details. McKinnon says this will be a significant change for the profession and mark a key moment in its history.

He went on to say that the question of compulsory regulation remains unanswered, which is unusual since the tax profession is one of the few that is still unregulated.

Furthermore, research by HMRC has discovered that members of the public are unable to distinguish between qualified agents and those who are not. To them, the title of Tax Agent implies somebody with a level of expertise, but anybody can give themselves the title and the Revenue will accept them without question. Regulation in this case would not be about more red tape, but about protecting the public.

McKinnon’s predecessor, Andrew Meeson, stood down in October after he was investigated by HMRC. It later emerged that he had been arrested and charged in connection with a tax fraud.

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