Raising standards in the tax advice market call for evidence – Law Society response

We responded to an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) call for evidence about ways to raise standards and increase transparency in the tax advice market.

The proposals

The call for evidence asks for views and evidence on several issues including:

  • the scope of the market for tax advice and services
  • the characteristics of good and bad practice
  • possible approaches to raising standards

Our view

Our response provides information about the frameworks and high standards that apply to solicitors advising on tax, as summarised in our guidance for solicitors advising on tax.

We argue that the right approach is to focus on the unsupervised sector of the market.

HMRC should consider, for example, making it mandatory for all tax advisers to have professional indemnity insurance (PII).

Over-regulation or double regulation of parts of the market that are already regulated, or other steps that could discourage high quality advisers from being in the market of giving tax advice should be avoided.

HMRC should also focus on how it can improve its own use of powers, resources, and processes to tackle the issues that are identified, including through education and support for those less able to access professional advice.

What this means for solicitors

Tax is a significant practice area for solicitors.

Tax advice is often a significant component of advice given by solicitors who specialise in private client, trust, wills, probate, employment, pensions, and property.

Next steps

The call for evidence closed on 28 August.

Responses to the call for evidence will be used to inform any further policy design, which HMRC has stated would be subject to a full consultation.

Read the call for evidence on the GOV.UK website

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