HMRC to ramp up tax avoidance disclosures to professional bodies

17th April 2015

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed it will be “significantly increasing” the number of tax avoidance disclosures it makes to professional bodies.

More practitioners are likely to face disciplinary action from their institutes having advised on tax avoidance schemes for their clients.

Last week, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said it was yet to discipline any of its members for advising clients on aggressive and contrived tax avoidance schemes, despite previously demonstrating a firm stance against such behaviour in 2012.

Although the ICAEW says it is “currently looking at a few cases with regard to tax advice”, none as yet have resulted in disciplinary proceedings being brought against a member.

However, an ICAEW spokeswoman has confirmed that, to date, HMRC has passed the institute “little information that we have been able to act on”.

HMRC has responded by confirming to Accountancy Age it “expects to significantly increase the number of disclosures made in the future”.

An HMRC spokesman said: “As part of the paper ‘Tackling tax evasion and avoidance’, published on 19 March, the Government is asking the tax and accountancy professional bodies to take a greater lead and responsibility in setting and enforcing clear professional standards around the facilitation and promotion of avoidance.

“HMRC has made public interest disclosures to ICAEW in the past, where the behaviour of members appears to fall short of the expected professional and ethical standards.

“HMRC expects to significantly increase the number of disclosures made in the future and will be working closely with ICAEW and other professional bodies on this.”

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