Seize chance to bolster public’s trust in all tax advisers, urges new ATT President

The new President of the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) has used his first speech in post to urge the Government to make membership of a professional body, such as ATT, mandatory for all providers of tax advice – to raise standards in the tax advice market and thereby give the public greater trust in their tax adviser.

Richard Todd is the ATT‘s first new president for two years because the outgoing president Jeremy Coker had his term of office extended to help the ATT focus and succeed in managing the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its work.

Todd takes office at today’s (Thursday) Annual General Meeting of the ATT. The ATT’s leadership team1 for the next 12 months will be:

President – Richard Todd

Deputy President – David Bradshaw

Vice President – Simon Groom

The Government is looking at how to raise standards in the tax advice market, partly as a response to the controversy around disguised remuneration which led to the introduction of the Loan Charge.2 A proposal from government is to require professional indemnity insurance (PII) for all providers of tax advice.

In a speech to the ATT’s online AGM today, Richard Todd will say that PII alone is unlikely to be sufficient to resolve the problems the Government has identified in the tax advice market:

“Professional Indemnity Insurance is compulsory for ATT members in practice. That has been the case for many years [and] we definitely see PII as a good thing…

“It is, however, important to recognise the limitations of introducing mandatory PII for all providers of tax advice. PII should ensure that any substantiated claim made by a client against their adviser should be met. But real consumer protection requires so much more than just PII. It depends on rigorous professional standards and easy access to redress through complaint and disciplinary processes. Just like we have here in ATT…

“Whilst mandatory PII is a necessary element in raising standards and trust in the tax advice market, it is definitely not sufficient in isolation. We continue to believe that membership of a professional body, such as ATT, should be mandatory for all providers of tax advice.”

Todd’s speech also touches on the recent government consultation ‘The tax administration framework: supporting a 21st century tax system’:

“This was a wide-ranging consultation, covering all legislation relating to the collection and payment of direct and indirect taxes. The idea of looking at the full lifecycle for a taxpayer, from initial registration through compliance, payment, review, and enquiry, with safeguards across all taxes all at once is some ask, and in truth this consultation has probably bitten off more than even the most enthusiastic tax adviser could take on in one go!

“It is though, the start of an important conversation around the future of the operation of the tax system as HMRC seeks to move more tax compliance into a digital space. It is likely several more-focused consultations will flow out of this one, and the ATT will continue to engage throughout that process.

“At next year’s Annual General Meeting, I want to be able to report that the ATT has risen to the challenge and continues to be a professional body of recognition.”

Notes for editors

1. President – Richard Todd

Richard Todd joined ATT Council in 2013. He has been the Association's Deputy President for the past two years. He chairs the Joint ATT/CIOT Professional Standards Committee and is a former Chair of the Joint ATT/CIOT Northern Ireland Branch. (ATT runs joint branches and some committees with the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), with which it also shares back office staff and resources.)

Todd became a member of the ATT in 1996 and qualified as a Chartered Tax Adviser in 1998. He began his tax career with the Inland Revenue in London and Central Scotland, before returning to Northern Ireland in 1998. He currently works in practice in Belfast.

Deputy President - David Bradshaw

David joined Council in 2015. He was the Association's Vice President and Honorary Treasurer. He chairs Finance Steering Group and serves on the Joint Branches Sub-Committee. At various intervals over the past 10 years David has been Chair, Treasurer and Secretary of the North East England Branch. He became a member of the Association in 2015 and qualified as a Chartered Tax Adviser in 1984. He has spent time with all four of the world’s largest accountancy practices and has specialised in taxation in both the SME marketplace and large corporate tax departments. He now provides corporation tax administration services to a number of North East businesses.

Vice President - Simon Groom

Simon joined Council in 2018 and was the Association's Vice President elect. He serves on Finance Steering Group and is a former member of Business Development and Member Steering Groups and Audit Committee. He became a member of the Association in 2003. Simon qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1987 and as a Chartered Tax Adviser in 1991. He has spent many years training students for the ATT and CTA examinations and is Director of Tolley Learning at LexisNexis.

2. This initiative resulted from the Amyas Morse review into the Loan Charge, in which he made the following recommendation: ‘The Government must improve the market in tax advice and tackle the people who continue to promote the use of loan schemes, including by clarifying how taxpayers can challenge promoters and advisers that may be mis-selling loan schemes. There should be a new strategy published within six months, addressing how the Government will establish a more effective system of oversight, which may include formal regulation, for tax advisers.’

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